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Canal Du Midi FAQ

FAQ About the Canal Du Midi in France

 

Where is the Canal Du Midi on a map?

The Canal Du Midi is in the south of France.  It connects Toulouse to Sete.

 

How long is the Canal Du Midi?

The Canal Du Midi is 241 Kilometers long, which equals 150 miles.  This is the distance from Toulouse to the canal's mouth at the Bassin de Thau.  The actual port used by the Canal Du Midi boat traffic during its hay-days is Sete, which dates from the same age as the canal itself.  To reach Sete, boats join the Bassin de Thau.

 

How many locks are there on the Canal Du Midi?

There are 65 locks on the Canal Du Midi.

 

How old is the Canal Du Midi?

The Canal Du Midi was constructed between 1667 and 1681.

 

Who build the Canal Du Midi?

Pierre Paul Riquet build the Canal Du Midi.  He was born in Beziers, France.  Unfortunally he died a few days before the Canal Du Midi was finished.

 

Where does the Canal Du Midi start?

For ease, many like to say that the start of the Canal Du Midi is Toulouse.  But this is a bit of a trick question.  By "start of the canal" do you mean the source?  A river's start is its source; does a canal start at its source too?  The source of the Canal Du Midi is in the Black Mountains.  But no boats can travel that part of its system.  The water from the Black Mountains joins the Canal Du Midi at its highest point located a few kilometers west of Castelnaudary at a point called the Seuil de Naurouze.  So maybe this should be considered the "start" of the Canal Du Midi.

 

Where does the Canal Du Midi end?

The Canal Du Midi flows into the Bassin de Thau, a few kilometers east of Agde.  But again this is a bit of a trick question.  When the canal was designed, it was noted that the Herault River in Agde was not suited to become a port.  Instead, it was decided that a new port should be build at the previously undeveloped site of Sete.  Therefore Sete is the same age as the Canal Du Midi.  Thus if we go by the original plan, Sete is the end of the Canal Du Midi.

 

What is the highest point on the Canal Du Midi?

The highest point of the Canal Du Midi is located a few kilometers west of Castelnaudary at a point called the Seuil de Naurouze.  This point is very important in the history of the Canal Du Midi, as the idea to have water flow from the nearby mountains to this point was the breakthrough that finally allowed the construction of a sea to sea canal.  Nobody before Paul Riquet had envisioned this point as being the source of the canal's water.

 

Where does the water in the Canal Du Midi come from?

Most of the water in the Canal Du Midi comes from the Black Mountains east of Castelnaudary.  Sometimes when the canal crosses a creek or river, water from those sources is added to the canal as well, for example the Orb River in Beziers and the Herault River in Agde.

 

Why is the Canal Du Midi an UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The Canal Du Midi 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.

 

When is the best time of year to cycle the Canal Du Midi?

The best time any of the dry months.  It does not rain much in this area of France.  Rain is your biggest challenge due to the canal towpaths not being paved, thus rain will create mud.  Usually the most chance of rain is in March/April and October.  For more about the weather visit the Canal Du Midi weather page.

 

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