Discover the beauty of the Canal du Midi locks, villages and architecture

Nestled into the southern regions of Mediterranean France, the Canal du Midi has become one of the most popular waterways for holidaymakers looking for a boating holiday in France. And, it’s no surprise why.

Boasting remote villages, stunning countryside scenery and historical architecture, a trip along the Canal du Midi is certainly one to remember. As a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest canals in Europe, there’s no better way to explore these picturesque waterways than with a Canal du Midi boat rental .

Here are a few essential sights to see when you opt for Canal du Midi boat holidays :

Canal du Midi Toulouse

Canal du Midi boat hire is most common from Toulouse, which is where you’re likely to start your journey along these historic waterways. Known fondly as the Pink City, Toulouse is a maze of pink buildings and domineering basilicas, all connected by aged-old stone bridges. It’s easy enough to while away a few days explore the quaint streets and the culinary scene in Toulouse, a perfect start to what will be a memorable Canal du Midi barge holiday .

Canal du Midi Carcassonne

As you enjoy the serenity of your Canal du Midi boat trip , you’ll pass by the unmissable town of Carcassonne. Home to what is considered to be one of the largest remaining citadels in Europe, this is the perfect spot to soak in the rich history of this region during your vacation.

Carcassonne boat trips are ideal for experiencing this fortified town in all its glory but don’t forget to dock along the way and head out to explore the meandering streets and ancient walls of La Cité. Docking in the new town, you’ll need to head across Pont Vieux which will lead you to La Cité, and offer up your first photo opportunity. Follow the cobbled streets up through La Porte D’aude, the citadel’s second gate, following the path of many 13th century residents that have gone before you.

Fonserannes Locks

As one of the world’s great canal journeys, the Canal du Midi is home to more than sixty historic locks that should be high on your to-see list. One of the most popular, and arguably the most beautiful of the Canal du Midi locks are the locks of Fonserannes.

Not far from the historic town of Béziers, the Fonserannes Locks are more commonly known as Nine Locks, thanks to their staircase-like structure consisting of nine gates. Luckily, you don’t need a license to operate this historic lock, but you may need a hand from some friendly locals! Just remember the
Canal du Midi depth is much shallower here, and you’ll be restricted to cruising at 3mph.

Stretching across an impressive distance of 300 meters, your boat will be lifted 21 meters into the air, thanks to the help of this staircase lock. Canal boat hire on the Canal du Midi is the perfect opportunity to get up, close and personal with this 19th-century feat of engineering.

Where does the Canal du Midi start and finish?

Beginning its journey on the Mediterranean coast, the mighty Canal du Midi runs for an impressive 240 kilometres from the Bassin de Thau all the way to the grand metropolis of Toulouse.

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