Where does the Canal du Midi start and finish?

One of the most famous and popular canal routes in France, the Canal du Midi has fascinated canal boat enthusiasts for decades.

The age-old question people ask is “Where does the Canal du Midi start and finish?”. The simple answer to this is that the Canal du Midi starts in the city of Toulouse and finishes at the lagoon of Étang de Thau perched on the edge of the Mediterranean sea.

While many boating holidays on the Canal du Midi follow this route, there are a number of detours you can make. These can either add or take away from the overall route, creating epic canal boat holidays or shorter trips through southern France.

From start to finish, the Canal du Midi is a journey littered with must-see sights, attractions and southern French landmarks. Knowing where to start and finish your journey is only the beginning; the real joy of the journey is what is in between these two points. By understanding where everything is along the Canal du Midi, you can ensure you have one of the best French canal holidays possible.

 

Let’s break down the many areas of this Southern French waterway, helping answer the question; where does the Canal du Midi start and finish?

 

Start your journey on the Canal du Midi in Toulouse

The traditional start of the Canal du Midi is in the French city of Toulouse. As a tourist hotspot in its own right, it is arguable that you couldn’t choose a better starting point.

Before you begin your journey down the popular waterway, a trundle through the city of Toulouse is a must. Offering an array of top attractions and landmarks, a visit through the city of Toulouse will set you in good stead and in good spirits for the journey ahead.

No visit to Toulouse would be complete without a trip to the Basilique Saint-Sernin. Built in the 12th century, the Basilique Saint-Sernin is the largest Romanesque church in all of Europe and has UNESCO World Heritage Status too. You will have to tear yourself away from the beauty of the city, yet so much more awaits you downriver.

 

Discover Carcassone in the middle of the Canal du Midi

As you make your way further down the waterway, new and interesting spots will open up on either side of the Canal du Midi. A stunning halfway point along the canal is the hilltop town of Carcassonne, one of the most breathtaking spots you’ll find in this part of France.

The crowning sight of this hilltop town is the perfectly preserved citadel made up of a medieval fortified city set atop a hill overlooking the countryside below. With thick walls, ramparts and a keep, the citadel is like something straight out of a fantasy novel or history book. Taking a tour of this stunning citadel is a must on any Canal du Midi trip and is surely going to be one of the highlights of the entire trip.

 

End your journey down the Canal du Midi on a high in Etang de Thau

After a jam-packed ten-day trip exploring the length of the Canal du Midi, right from Toulouse up until this point, the final leg of the journey will be in sight.

As your barge comes into its final throws, the Mediterranean Sea looms large in the distance and the idyllic and sun-kissed southern France coastline comes into view.

The actual final point of the Canal du Midi is the Étang de Thau, a series of lagoons that stretch along the entire coast. This breath-taking stretch of lagoons is home to a variety of wildlife, including herons and pink flamingos – what better ending can you want from one of the best canal journeys in Europe.

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