Built in the 17th century, the Canal du Midi, also known as the Canal des Deux Mers, is one of the oldest man-made waterways in Europe. At 360km long, the Canal du Midi was built to link the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is fed by the waters of the Black Mountain. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Southern France, runs from Toulouse in the west to the Mediterranean port of Sète in the east.
Shaded by plane trees lining its banks, the Canal du Midi’s green waters wind through the beautiful countryside, past fields of sunflowers and through the vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon.
Explore the busy port-town of Béziers and enjoy the stunning views from the forme cathedral of Saint-Nazaire, perched on a hilltop. To the west, at Fonserannes, you will find the marvellous flight of seven locks. See the world’s oldest canal tunnel at Malpas, and discover the interesting village of Capestang with its lovely, floodlit St. Etienne Cathedral. Detour to Narbonne to see the impressive cathedral and Archduke’s Palace. Famous for its medieval fortress set high on a hill with drawbridges, towers and cobbled streets, Carcassonne is unmissable. The medieval town of Castelnaudary is also worth exploring. It was built around a castle in the 12th century and was the birthplace of cassoulet, a meat and beans dish named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked.
Browse the traditional markets for a selection of local cheeses and enjoy tasting the wines of the region. The Canal du Midi passes through the wine growing areas of the Languedoc, the Herault, the Aude, Minervois and Corbières.
Basking in warm sunshine almost all year round, a cruise along the Canal du Midi is an ideal holiday for sun seekers! In fact, an air-conditioned boat is advisable in July or August as temperatures can be high.
A perfect boating holiday for experienced and first time cruisers alike, this beautiful and tranquil waterway, with relaxed cruising through unique oval locks, stands testament to the technical mastery of its architects.