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A Week on the Canal du Midi

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My husband and I are flying to Germany and then on to France for a week long trip on a boat up the Canal du Midi at the end of May this year. Afterwards, we are picking up a train to travel from Montpellier back up to Paris. While we are on the Canal, we are looking forward to venturing out to local cafes and shops by foot or by bicycle. I don't know how much Euros we should carry or if we should just use our credit card (Chase Sapphire Visa). Also, how does tipping work in Germany and France.I have not booked our train trips yet but assume I should do so online before we get to Europe. Also, how do US cell phones work over there? Should we bring ours or an iPad? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, my mother is very concerned about political unrest in Germany, especially. Is this something I should be concerned about as a traveler?
Many thanks!

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