Try wandering along this water highway. A boat auto route motorway of days of gone by - Canal du Midi - a world heritage site and rightly so! Engineered, designed, and built to connect the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, a thoroughfare for goods during the last 350 years - a spine that created the center of many a town, or village along its path. It was constructed by Pierre Paul Riquet, a tax collector, who after his good works, died in debt. One of the surprising facts about the construction of the canal, was that its birth as it were was in part due to women from Pyreneen spa towns who were well versed in the methods of classical hydraulic engineering, dating back to Roman times.
Trebes, just a short distance by car from Carcassonne, is a lot further by canal - as it swerves like a river to enter the town, where its port is at the center next to the railway station. At Trebes, the canal du Midi, is near the River Aude, and the combination of river bridge, canal make it a lively village to stop at. The center of the old village with its narrow streets - has a marvelous church - Saint-Etienne
The church was built in 1300 on the ruins of an earlier church. It is a fine example of Gothic méridional - characterized by a vast unique nave with pure lines, covered by a structure based on six arcs. After a collapse of the ceiling, during 1977, a great discovery was made of the treasure of Trebes: 320 oak corbels supporting the beams of the frame, each painted with figure: male, female, animal ... Dating from the 14th Century painted by 3 artists - these are some of the finest examples in Southern France. The church has a magnificent belfry that commands the river valley.
Close by is the Galerie des Arts, with exhibitions of contemporary art - including over the years Georges Braque, Joan Miro - and in 2009 Prevert and Friends.
The Canal du Midi, is the pride of Trebes, with its pleasant plane trees, providing must needed shade in the Summer months. Here in July and August are street markets in the evenings. Visit the wine bar. Buy books from the English bookshop and internet café. Hungry go to the Moulin de Trebes, with its lovely terrace on the Canal, and interesting menu - best time to go is lunch during the week!
The Ecluse on the Canal du Midi at Trebes, Languedoc
Trebes, near Carcassonne. Canal du Midi in a larger map