Agde near Cap D'Agde
Canal du Midi Maps
Castenaudary to Carcassonne Canal du Midi Map
Carcassonne to Poilhes (also Narbonne) Canal du Midi Map
Poilhes to Beziers to Sete Canal du Midi Map
Sete to Aigues Mortes to Saint Gilles Canal du Rhone Map
Introduction to the Canal du Midi, Languedoc, South France,
Be seduced by the Canal du Midi, built from 1666, by up to 12,000 men, crossing rivers, tunnelling through hills, irrigated from the mysterious Montagne Noir, with grace and beauty that lives on to this day. It runs 235 kilometers, requires over 100 locks. It is a love affair of man, nature, and engineering. The canal was created by Riquet, the tax farmer for Languedoc who wanted to join the economies of the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. He sacrificed everything to make sure of its completion - even using his daughters' dowries for the cause.
From the handsome city of Toulouse to the port of Sete, the canal cuts masterfully with grace and physical agility through the Southern France. Villages and towns reaped profit from its golden days, in grand homes, houses, chateaux that brace the waters edge. Now canal boats cruise full of tourists and leisure seekers where king fishers and bright birds sing. Lock keeper houses some still keep the keepers, whilst others have been opened up as restaurants, art galleries, and holiday homes.
Canal du Midi guide at Sete where the
canal opens onto the Mediterranean. Then to Agde,
with its fortress church, small village streets, past the thriving town
of Beziers famous for bullfights in the Summer and its Flower Market,
on past to the incredible 13th
century Etang de Montady, with nearby Roman oppidum. Squeeze under
canal bridges such as at Capestang
with its muscular village church, and Sunday market, and stop the
night under trees. Then take a side trip, down the Canal de Jonction to Salleles d'Aude, through the 1780's Ecluse de Gailhousty with
dry dock, on the Canal de la Robine, to Narbonne
with Cathedral, shops, and a huge outdoor Market. Yearning for bathing
and beaches? go on to where the canal skirts
Back on the Canal du Midi, stop in and taste the wine, as at Ventenac, cross over the oldest canal bridge in the world at Pont Canal du Repudre, glide past bluff top villages like Paraza, and sleepy Minervois villages of Roubia, and Argens Minervois, through graceful locks near Homps and be enchanted by master surrealist wood sculptures near Puicheric.
There are still more wonders and magic at every turn, visit Trebes, with Medieval paintings at the church then - Carcassonne - the Medieval castle and city featured in many a movie, Castelnaudary where the valley widens, and finally to Toulouse, full of wild exuberance, and colorful nightlife.
Drink wonderful wine, swim in the Med, mountain streams, discover castles, abbeys and artists and musicans who came - André Derain, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, C R Mackintosh, and Tsuguharu Fujita; or go a few steps to Spain and Catalonia land of Salvador Dali - Cadaquez, and Barcelona
Go to Collioure
Moules et Frites (Mussels and Chips)