The Canal Du Midi is cycled by people from all over the world each year.
It is the oldest canal in Europe and the first canal in the world to use locks, who were invented by Leonardo Da Vinci when he lived his last years in France.
As such the UNESCO Organization has put it on its list of World Heritage Sites (1996). World Heritage Sites are an important part of UNESCO's task which is to promote Peace. Therefore, it has selected important creations of mankind worldwide to be protected for all of eternity. Other sites on this list include The Taj Mahal, Acropolis (Greece), and Easter Island. The Canal Du Midi was selected because of its importance as a mechanical and engineering advancement for humanity and also because of the way it is integrated into the landscape. The Canal du Midi influenced all the canals that were to follow, for example the Erie Canal, The Panama Canal and the Suez Canal. The best description of the Canal Du Midi can be quoted directly from the UNESCO site:
"This 360-km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.) is one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times. Built between 1667 and 1694, it paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. The care that its creator, Pierre-Paul Riquet, took in the design and the way it blends with its surroundings turned a technical achievement into a work of art." (link)
"The canal is especially attractive because it is not cut out in a straight line like a commercial ditch, but follows the natural contours of the land, thereby both saving money and being more natural to the eye."
(source: Thomas Jefferson on wine, by John R. Hailman, page 102)
Tomorrow your plane is leaving and you still have to pack! You just found this site so keep on reading, you can pack later.
Please keep reading and find out how to get the most of your bicycle trip and to discover the beauty of the Canal Du Midi. After your bike trip, once you have unpacked, please drop us a line or two about your experiences using the form on this website.
Keep reading if, for example, you want to learn about a system of "signs" that you can follow all along the Canal Du Midi.
A forum for discussing your next Canal Du Midi bicycle tour. Free registration.
Contact form, links, and anything else.