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Highlights of your cruise on the Canal du Midi

This year, go to France and choose the Canal du Midi: an authentic holiday away from the crowds awaits you.

It winds through the countryside, passing through acres of vineyards, sunflower fields and charming villages full of character and history.

Here are the highlights of your river cruise on the Canal du Midi.

Toulouse

Toulouse

Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France (after Paris, Marseille and Lyon) and is known as a center for aviation and space flight, the home of French rugby and a university town.

Known as the "pink city" because of the pink bricks used in many of its buildings. Toulouse remains intimate and welcoming, with a relaxed atmosphere. You can visit the city during or after your river cruise.

You can immerse yourself in the true French café culture and enjoy the many museums and cultural attractions. If you travel with Le Boat, don't forget to add bicycles to your reservation: there are bike paths throughout the city, making bicycles a great way to get around.

There is also a large airport in Toulouse, making it the ideal way to get to the Canal du Midi if you are coming from further afield.

Castelnaudary

Castelnaudary

In addition to being one of the largest ports in the Le Boat fleet, the historic town of Castelnaudary is the home of Cassoulet. A regional dish of white beans and large pieces of pork and duck.

Several places in town claim to serve the best: don't hesitate to try it!

You can also visit the Cugarel mill, one of the 32 mills that existed in the city in the 17th century. Built in local stone, it is typical of the Lauragais windmills with its truncated cone shape. 

Visit also the Museum of Lauragais, installed in the old prison of the city, on the ruins of the castle founder of the city of Castel noù d'Ari.

Carcassonne

Carcassonne

The famous city of Carcassonne is composed of two different parts: the medieval fortified city (upper city), with its world-famous citadel, which impressively dominates the often less visited bastide Saint-Louis (lower city).

The city of Carcassonne is the second most visited tourist attraction in France, behind the Eiffel Tower. And when you see its fairy tale turrets and imposing walls as you approach the city, you'll quickly understand why!

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this medieval fortified city is unique in Europe due to its size and state of preservation. It is famous for its double wall of ramparts almost 3 km in perimeter and its spectacular 53 conical roofed towers.

Trèbes

Trèbes

Le Boat has a base in the town of Trèbes, from which you can start or finish your boating holiday. Trèbes is an ideal place to discover the charming local French culture.

Trèbes is also an ideal place to taste the delicious local specialties. You'll find fantastic wines, served with tapas or to go, at Vignes de Bacchus.

You can also stop by the Domaine des Pères, to discover a superb olive oil and its by-products, such as soap sold with local honey, pâtés and traditionally made beers.

Before leaving, it is worthwhile to take a walk in the 13th century church, which has beautiful oak beams and carved figures.

Homps

Homps

The small village of Homps, where The Boat is also based, has long been an active trading port where barrels of wine from the Minervois and Corbières were loaded for their journey to Bordeaux. The buildings along the waterfront bear witness to those days.

There is a grocery store, small restaurants, a wine store and a café-bar in the village.

One of the best reasons to stop in Homps is that it is the best way to reach Minerve (12 km) from Homps.

Minerve is one of the most beautiful towns in France, with its cobblestone streets, labyrinth of narrow alleys, picturesque homes and simple 12th century church. The town itself is perched on a rocky promontory with rivers running through deep gorges on either side.

The town can only be reached by a high bridge and was the site of a famous medieval siege where a trebuchet nicknamed "malvoisine" or "bad neighbor" was used to stun the town.

Le Somail

Le Somail

Le Somail was once an important port for trade and served as a rest stop for passengers coming from Sète or Toulouse. Today, it is a beautiful little Languedoc village with good restaurants, a few artists' studios and a grocery store.

Stop here to find a wonderful antique bookstore, "Le Trouve Tout du Livre", with its collection of over 50,000 books ranging from cheap paperbacks to rare editions. A real delight for readers, and the perfect place to find something to read during your vacation.

In Le Somail, you will also find a beautiful canal barge offering fresh bread, pastries and basic foodstuffs. You can shop without ever leaving the Canal du Midi! For fresh bread and pastries, it is recommended to reserve in advance.

Narbonne

Narbonne

Narbonne has a rich heritage where grand old buildings sit majestically among a network of lively streets. It has a wonderful southern French atmosphere with a Spanish touch.

Notable sites include the magnificent Archbishop's Palace, composed of the "old palace" of Roman origin and the "new palace" of Gothic style. This makes it an impressive but slightly unusual building.

For those who don't mind the darkness, the Roman Horreum is the ideal site to visit. The Horreum is a set of underground tunnels in an ancient Gallo-Roman warehouse dating back to the 1st century BC. Their size is impressive!

Béziers

Béziers

Béziers is the capital of the Languedoc wine industry and the birthplace of Pierre-Paul Riquet, the great founder of the Canal du Midi.

Like all cities with a long history, Béziers is best discovered by walking its medieval streets, squares and green parks.

 

 

 

 

Carcassonne

 

Schedule your next boating holiday in France, close to home, without further delay. Discover these majestic places on your Canal du Midi river adventure with Le Boat.