The Camargue and the Canal du Midi boat-hire routes present a dazzling show throughout the whole length of your cruise, with famous listed sites dotted along the way, in the heart of an extraordinary ecosystem.
A feat of canal engineering in the sun-drenched, relaxed south of France
This is a magical part of the world to explore by Pénichette® – from the unspoilt landscapes of the Petite Camargue and its unique plants and wildlife, to the amazing works of engineering and medieval citadels of the Canal du Midi, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. When you rent a boat on the southern canals, you’re within easy reach of historic sites such as Carcassonne and its famous medieval citadel, Toulouse with its basilicas, the pride of the ‘Pink City’, and the Minervois vineyards skirting the foothills of the Black Mountain. You can venture into the Camargue to find the white horses with their manes blowing in the wind, migrating herons and other wildlife. Journey through the centuries on your canal boat and discover the timeless treasures of this famous region. Of course, you’ll also enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere and lifestyle as you pass through lively villages, after sampling some local seafood on the quayside. The Canal du Midi may be world-famous for boating holidays in France, but the impression you’ll take home is the disarming simplicity of life on the waterways, as you gently go with the flow on your self-drive boat, through parades of pines and cypresses, lulled by the sound of cicadas.
By canal boat from the wild Camargue to Mediterranean landscapes
The word-famous Canal du Midi, boat hire hub of the south of France, is a perfect blend of unspoilt natural surroundings, listed heritage sites and amazing food and drink. It should definitely be on your bucket list.
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destination and its waterways
The Canal du Midi and the Camargue – dazzling gems, with or without the sunshine
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Canal du Midi is also one of the world’s most famous locations for boating holidays. Canal du Midi boat hire customers come back here year after year – they know there’s so much to explore, it’s hard to know which way to steer to take it all in!
The Citadel of Carcassonne, a journey into history
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this amazing fortress stands guard beside the River Aude, with two thousand years of conquests and crusades echoing inside its walls. The best time to see it is arriving in your Pénichette® or self-drive boat at sunset, when the stones take on a fiery glow – a breathtaking sight!
The Petite Camargue, wild but delicately beautiful
As you cruise along the Rhône canal in your self-drive boat, following the Mediterranean coastline, the lands of the Petite Camargue stretch out in front of you, a countryside where nature has never given way to the modern world.
The Etang de Thau, head for a huge natural spectacle
As you approach the Etang de Thau, your boat gives you access to the largest stretch of water in the region. Especially famous for oyster farming, this unspoiled natural area has an incredible diversity of species, which you can discover as you glide through the water.
The Château de Paraza Estate, winemaking tradition in the South
A family estate that respects ancestral traditions as well as our modern ecological standards. It offers the chance to taste excellent wines and explore a 100-metre-long wine cellar.
Cassoulet in Castelnaudary, a ‘must try’ local delicacy
When cruising between Carcassonne and Toulouse along the Canal du Midi, boat hire customers love stopping off at Castelnaudary. One reason is the town’s famous speciality – cassoulet – a treat you really should try. And take some away with you too!
Go with the flow in the south of France, along this jewel of the waterways
Your cruise in this famous waterways region, extended by the Canal Latéral à la Garonne, allows you to cover up to 500 km on your Pénichette® or self-drive boat – with no license needed! Relaxation is what it’s all about as you glide along through fascinating landscapes, shaded by cypress trees and umbrella pines, with vineyards on the port side and Mediterranean villages to starboard. For your waterways cruise on the Canal du Midi, boat hire regulations limit your speed to 8 km an hour, reduced to 3 km an hour when approaching bridges, docks or locks, to avoid disturbing the canal’s natural features or damaging the banks. So you can enjoy your cruise at a gentle pace, taking time to look at historic buildings, treasures of the middle ages and vast, green landscapes, while enjoying local specialities and Mediterranean treats. That’s life in the south of France!
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Fancy being one of the big influencers? Go cruising to find the best instagrammable sights on the French waterways and watch the ‘likes’ coming in!
Globe-trotters Amandine and François, authors of the blog ‘Un sac sur le dos’, set off with Locaboat on a unique kind of mission along the waterways.
Our two travel bloggers, authors of 'Un sac sur le dos' give us a stage-by-stage account of the best, unmissable sights along the Canal du Midi.