We were a party of four adults, novices at boating, and one of us (me) didn't like boats or water! There are explanatory panels, but I'm not sure if I understood all the technical details. Pierre-Paul Riquet designed the canal with monumental grandeur, displaying the power of 17th century France. The Canal du Midi is a commercial waterway and is part of the Waterways of Mainland Europe. Flexible cancellation or change Houseboat BOOM Péniche (1894, refit 2013) 98.42 feet Skipper included in the price. Early Sunday morning I walked on the towpath along that Canal until it joins the Canal du Midi. A remarkable work of engineering, the Canal du Midi twists and turns through some of the most beautiful countrysides in southern France. Vineyards, the beautiful old trees, which are so typical for France. The Canal du Midi remains the masterpiece of Pierre-Paul Riquet, a French canal-builder and engineer. Four adjoining channels are also included. See for yourself, because it is hard to describe, but I am sure you will be astounded. Would be more appealing to me, but it would also take a few days to see a substantial part of the entire stretch. The first stop was in the center of Toulouse, between Boulevard des Minimes and Boulevard Matabiau. As with all locks on the canal, the chamber is oval, the curved walls better withstand the water pressure. Once used to transport goods and people, the waterway is now mainly used by boaters and other tourists. First we headed for the round lock at Agde, a basin with three gates that connects the canal with the Hérault River. The Canal du Midi was built between 1666 and 1681 by Pierre-Paul Riquet to provide an … This was one of the great technical innovations by Pierre-Paul Riquet, the engineer of the canal. As such the UNESCO Organization … In Béziers is also the steepest section and the most spectacular place on the Canal du Midi, the Fonserannes Locks. On this stretch, boats and barges line one side of the waterway, while the north bank becomes a walking and biking path. The Canal du Midi is a 240 km long canal that in its time (late 17th century) was a great engineering achievement. At 360km and with 328 structures (bridges, locks, aqueducts and tunnels) it is a true work of art and was the largest construction site of the 17 th century in France. The Pont Neuf arch bridge dates back to the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Port Saint-Sauveur on the Canal du Midi is one of two river ports located on the waterway at Toulouse. DOCUMENTARY : the canal du midi. Further southeast, in Donneville, the canal fully assumes rural features, dissecting fields and rolling by small villages. Every year, hire boats ply its emerald green waters, with some making the voyage all the way to the Mediterranean coast. On the other hand, the canal itself is uniformly the same narrow strip of water at any point of its stretch, only the surrounding scenery may vary. The canal is located in the south of France, connecting the Garonne River at Toulouse to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean. An aerial view of scenic Castelnaudary and the canal. The Canal du Midi is steeped in history and heritage. Tie your boat up and watch the. Rising in the historic city of Toulouse, this is the country's most famous canal. Video: Nokia N95 8GB. The Canal du Midi is a masterpiece of civil engineering - and it works until today. The Canal du Midi is rightly on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. The Languedoc is responsible for more than a third of France’s total wine production. The canal is located in the south of France, connecting the Garonne River at Toulouse to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean. Also, the Canal de Brienne, a side canal connecting it to the Garonne River, makes for a pleasant walk. Obviously, we realise now the reason for the putrid water. Enjoy wine tasting, cycling, and sightseeing at medieval villages. The Capitole de Toulouse dates back to 1750. That being said, a boating cruise is still something on the list for my future visits to Occitanie. Since I was based in Carcassonne, I first enjoyed an afternoon walk by the juniper tree-lined canal with its bridges and locks near Carcassonne. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Canal du Midi three times, although I have never been able to navigate the Canal by boat. The photo shows the lock in Homps where we had a sumptuous picnic. This amazing engineering project opened the way to new economies. The Canal du Midi cuts through this sleepy town located near Carcassonne, which is certainly worth a diversion. The canal is served by several tour operators offering novices the chance to navigate their own barge along the entire watercourse or selected sections of the waterway. It is an UNESCO world heritage site and attracts many visitors every year. After a bit search in the web I identified some structures that seemed to be the most interesting, and thanks to my tom-tom it was easy to find them. Canal du Midi Cruise. It was a calm and peaceful atmosphere, the time seemed to pass more slowly than elsewhere. And all under the eyes of about 50 spectators which gave good advice. Learn how to create your own. Visit the nine locks of Fonsérannes. A remarkable work of engineering, the Canal du Midi twists and turns through some of the most beautiful countrysides in southern France. Discover the coast of Canal du Midi in a houseboat with 6 Cabins. Canal du Midi ~ Carcassonne ~ Robine Canal ~ Narbonne The sun-drenched South of France home of vineyards, sunflower fields and the world-famous, historic, Canal du Midi . When it comes to barging in the South of France, the scenic Canal du Midi is a must. The Canal du Midi is recognised as one of the most beautiful and popular waterways in Europe. Everyt curve in the canal opens a new vista, I draw and paint , filled two sketchbooks and feel the need to return to pick up what i missed. It's therefore an ideal place to drop anchor in and explore. Nevertheless, his desire not to superimpose colours and the fact that he left large areas of the background in a pale grey colour can be related to neo-Impressionism. Overall, I feel that taking a first-hand look at Canal du Midi does not add a lot in terms of appreciation of this feat of engineering beyond what you can gather from reading about it. The Canal du Midi was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997. During the two days, we saw only about a dozen boats, but the ports were full of boats, suggesting that the canal may be quite crowded in high season. Discover the Canal des Deux Mers à Vélo, an exceptional cycle route linking the two seas of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The Canal du Midi, a silky pale green liquid ribbon that meanders, connecting the Mediterranean port city of Sète to Toulouse is one of the most notable and oldest inland waterways of Europe still in use. Canal du Midi barge holidays are an entirely unique way to see the South of France. We had a marvellous week and I would recommend it to anyone. Halfway between Toulouse and Carcassonne, the huge basin at Castelnaudary is also an interesting sight, as it is the largest body of open water on the canal (about 7 hectares). The French can be proud. So we decided to visit the Canal du Midi by car on our trip from Arles via Carcassonne to Toulouse. In our trip to France we have seen the Canal du Midi, built between 1667 and 1694, that is 240 km long (360 km with his four lateral canals) and in average 18 m large and goes from the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean coast to Toulouse, where flows into the Garonne, that goes to the Atlantic: it links the two seas and has 328 structures (locks, lifts, aqueducts, spillways, bridges, tunnels). The skippers of the rental boats will make it worth your while, mostly not being hampered by any knowledge of seamanship and line handling. The Canal du Midi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has a truly fascinating history. I finished off my visit with a great Cassoulet at Le Tirou, the number one restaurant in town if you want to try the best cassoulet ever! But on this journey, your voyage effectively ends at Étang de Thau, the largest of a string of lagoons located near Sète. Today, the construction is not very impressive, but in the 17th century the dam in Saint-Ferréol was the highest in the world. The structures and technical facilities might not be very impressive for today's visitors. You will. Our route is level and car-free. Here, the scenery became really picturesque, and I spied couples and families enjoying idyllic tranquillity. So, visit the Canal du Midi and the Aude region, enjoy it. Her beautiful interior makes the most of traditional materials such as African hardwoods and shining brass to create a warm onboard feel, reminiscent of a classic yacht. I liked very much the lifts and the bridge because of the quality of the architecture and their working, that I have admired when a boat passed them. The largest work on the canal is the dam of Saint-Ferréol. Oh, and it does smell so nice over there. The principle is that the river is split in two streams, which cross the canal through separate aqueducts. You might as well take a look at the Opidum d'Enserun. It’s a 360 km network of waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures, including locks, bridges, and tunnels. We started at Beziers with the plan to reach Aigues Mortes and return - we eventually reached Carnon! A shame. I then drove to the edge of the city, to the municipality of Ramonville-Saint-Agne, where the canal touches a small marina of Port de plaisance de Port Sud. The costs vary from €2-€20 per night. We enjoyed very much our trip along the Canal du Midi. It’s a whole different kind of cruise experience. A major problem was to supply the canal with sufficient water throughout the year. We stayed in Carcassonne, and the next day we went to the Bassin de Saint-Ferréol, the main water reservoir of the Canal du Midi. Connect with friends faster than ever with the new Facebook app. 2.37 Score, Epic beauty of tree-lined Canal du Midi under threat as fungus strikes (14.08.11), The site has This isn’t your only option. It was fun to watch how a hobby skipper finally managed to steer his boat through all the lock chambers. For a change, I opted to visit the Grand Bassin of Castelnaudary where there were much more boats, a small river island and a different view of the Canal du Midi. A few other places where we had a short stop: Malpas tunnel, the first navigable canal tunnel in Europe; Le Somail, a picturesque hamlet, once a stop for mail ships, some buildings, a chapel and an old stone bridge have been preserved; The Argent-Double Aqueduct, also an overflow to the Argent-Double river; a triple lock and the Orbiel Aqueduct in Trèbes. But it was too late in the day to see the exhibition, and I did not think another look at the canal itself would add anything to my impression of it. De Toulouse à Agde. It is the oldest canal in Europe and the first canal in the world to use locks, who were invented by Leonardo Da Vinci when he lived his last years in France. With eight successive chambers and nine lock gates a boat can be lifted a height of 21 metres at a distance of 300 metres. We docked at towns like capestaing and trebes for the night and picked up bread and croissants each day after 7 am when the bakeries opened. Castelnaudary is a small town with a large manmade lake, the Grand Bassin. He was also very conscious of the impact of the canal to the landscape, so he planted trees and plantations along it. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, the Canal du Midi is an engineering masterpiece stretching 240 kilometres (150 miles) from Toulouse to Sète on the Mediterranean coast. (Photo: Travel before March 21 & save 20% on your next booking, Last chance! When money didn’t arrive from the court (the project cost 15 million libras) he had to spent his; he died before the canal was finished. Just as at Castelnaudary, there's not a lot to see except for the straight canal and the trees closing it in on both sides. It is pretty underwhelming nowadays, just a little harbour with small private boats and swans. There are over 80 working locks on the Canal du Midi from Toulouse to the Mediterranean. On the north bank, the walking/biking path is paved, while on the south bank there are unpaved car tracks. But one have to take into account that most of the constructions date from the 17th century and were built with rather simple equipment. The chapel dome of Hôpital de La Grave is reflected in the Garonne River. It would be interesting to see how the facility operates at high water. (Photo: Carcassone sits on the Aude River, which is bordered by the Canal du Midi. Normally, the levels of the two streams are very similar, so that a conventional aqueduct was not applicable. The massive Orb Aqueduct in Béziers is a later addition, it was built in the 19th century and is the longest bridge on the Canal du Midi (240 metres). Cruising this 300 year old waterway, you will savor the slow easy pace of travel as you pass lush vineyards in the heart of the Languedoc wine region. The Canal Du Midi is cycled by people from all over the world each year. all the people we met were nice and nothing was crowded in mid May. The Canal du Midi was one of Europe’s major construction projects prior to the Industrial Revolution, and even though it never really fulfilled its promise of being a major artery of the French economy and is today mostly used by house boats ad other pleasure boats, it is still quite a fascinating achievement. Anjodi is very much a hotel barge of the classic Dutch design and also the founding member of our fleet, embarking on her first cruises along the historic Canal du Midi 35 years ago.. However, most people cycle the Canal Du Midi in the "better" months of summer. One of the delights of travelling along the canals is that you can pull over and tie up almost anywhere. The Canal Du Midi is surrounded by vineyards, fields of sunflowers and poppies. But to be honest, our main goal was not the dam but the nearby town of Revel, every Saturday there is a wonderful market in and around a medieval market hall. Strolling over the picturesque stone bridge, we found a place to settle for the evening at the charming Auberge du Somail. Besides the city hall, the building houses a theater and the national orchestra. You need to be aware about lock procedures and also that the bridge at Frontignan only opens three times a day so you need to plan your arrival time to coincide with these openings. Cruising the Canal du Midi. From Agde, travelers have the option of navigating the La Nouvelle branch of the Canal du Midi to Sète, another Mediterranean port and a popular seaside resort. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Ladakh Stand-Off: India, China Likely to Hold Next Round of Military Talks Tomorrow, Armaan Malik On His Epic EMA Win & How Complex Relationships Inspire His Songs, Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article, The Canal du Midi is a 240-km- (150-mi-) long canal in southern, Running westwards, the canal also joins the Garonne River to form the Canal des Deux Mers, joining Toulouse with Bordeaux—and effectively the. From step to step it worked better - learning by doing with success. The old towpath varies in quality from a road that can be driven by car to a trail of a few inches wide. Canal Du Midi Bike Tours! The Canal du Midi begins in Toulouse at Les Ponts Jumeaux – three bridges in the Port de Bassin de L’Embouchure (mouth). Through a Canal du Midi boat hire, you’ll see stunning cathedrals, grand châteaux, ancient ruins and medieval cities. A wonderful trip. The original purpose of the Canal du Midi was to be a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, avoiding the long sea voyage around hostile Spain, Barbary pirates, and a trip that in the 17th century required a full month of sailing. The Canal du Midi is truly magnificent. Relax Bike Tours, based out of Béziers, France, is excited to offer you a fantastic cycling holiday along the Canal Du Midi. The classical way is to navigate the canal by boat. The climate along the Canal Du Midi is Mediterranean. Next we went to the Ouvrages du Libron, a complex system of gates and walls to protect the Canal du Midi from an overflow of the river Libron at high water. In for a laugh? english version. Couple that with side visits to Carcassonne, Minerve, and Narbonne and … 1 locations, The site has 12000 men worked here and Riquet became its architect and had to have many capacities. Customize any tour; All tours are private tours; Best bikes on the Canal Du Midi . The Canal du Midi was officially inaugurated in 1681. Picturesque Languedoc is France’s most productive wine region with many delicious ‘drink now’ varieties on sale, direct from the vineyards (free tastings welcomed) that border the waterway, for just a few euros per bottle. In Toulouse, the starting point, you can walk alongside the canal for a long stretch - the main train station Matabiau is right next to it, and a statue of its mastermind Riquet can also be found in the area. Also known as the Languedoc, the Canal du Midi cruise region boasts roughly 700,000 acres under vines, and is the single biggest wine-producing region in the world. Another option: by bicycle on the old towpath along the canal. This is a must-have compact travel guide to the Canal du Midi, a picturesque waterway in Southern France, popular for boating trips and holidays. I decided to have a closer look at two separate places: Castelnaudary and Toulouse. From here, your voyage continues to Agde. How to visit a canal of more than 240 kilometres in length - indeed a good question. One could argue that you can do Canal du Midi justice only by renting a boat to navigate a portion of it. There are moorings and facilities placed at regular intervals, often with electricity and water and sometimes even showers and a laundry. Traveling west-east from Toulouse to Sète, the locks numbered 1–18 are ascending and 19–86 are descending. 3.50 Italy / Czech Republic - 07-Feb-06 -. For anyone who is not sure whether they can cope with locks, try this route - only 14 to navigate and it's good fun. He was conscious that he was creating a symbol of the power beyond a functional communication wateway: he ensured the quality of the architecture and the works were designed with monumental dignity and simplicity. It is a typical place at the Canal du Midi, the technical facilities of the lock seem unchanged and also the lock keeper's house has been preserved. You can feel it. 2016 marks the 350th anniversary of the royal decree authorising Riquet to build the canal, and the 20th anniversary of the … Click on map to enlarge the Canal du Midi cruise region It's worth to be visited if you are in the Midi-Pirénées and justifies the incription also because it's the most interesting canal in the world and the only one inscribed. Not a hotel but in fact a 16th-century Renaissance palace, the ornate Hôtel d'Assézat houses the Bemberg Foundation, a major city art gallery. Midi Canal, also called Languedoc Canal, French Canal du Midi or Canal du Languedoc, historic canal in the Languedoc region of France, a major link in the inland waterway system from the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. The 17th-century Saint-Marcel bridge in Le Somail. Carcassonne is a real gem. From the standpoint 17th century engineering, doubtless it must have been regarded then as a miracle. The Garonne joins the Canal du Midi east of the city center. Unfortunately, this is not regulated and often we heard that people were told to just dump their toilet into the Canal.This is an UNESCO World Heritage site and as such, one would assume care of the Canal would be of prime importance. Passing through historic water locks you will discover charming medieval villages and ancient fortress cities. Its architect Pierre-Paul-Riquet was a tax collector from Béziers and presented his project to the minister Colbert and to the Versailles court: only the king Louis XIV believed in him because he thought that it was the ideal connection between the port of Séte, that was under construction, and the ocean. The old Canal du Midi could easily be on everyone's bucket list if they like six days of being pampered on the Athos luxury barge by a staff that answer with a regular glass of local rosé. This was not our understanding as we were told that the toilet mascerator separated solids from liquid and this was disposed of at port dumps. A magnificent waterway linking Toulouse to Sète and, not surprisingly, a Unesco World Heritage Site. 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