France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Castelnaudary, France Guide
Famous for its cassoulet, this town is a great stopping point along the Canal du Midi.

 
   

 

Castelnaudary is about midway between Toulouse and Carcassonne. A major port on the Canal du Midi, much of its tourism comes from visitors who are traveling on the canal.

We stopped in Castelnaudary as we were driving from Toulouse to Carcassonne. Luckily for us, we got there at lunch time, so we were able to experience Castelnaudary's famous cassoulet. The town claims to have invented cassoulet—of course several other places do too. Regardless of who invented it, the nearly 12,000 inhabitants of Castelnaudary know how to make it.

It's a meal that will keep you warm on a cold day. Ingredients include white beans, confit de canard or d'oie (duck or goose preserved in fat), sausage, various kinds of pork, and stock.

We ate at the aptly-named Maison du Cassoulet (a small chain with about five other locations in the region). After a generous bowl of cassoulet, we were ready to explore the Grand Bassin of the Canal du Midi.

The Grand Bassin is the largest body of open water on the Canal du Midi. It's a popular port with lots of boat traffic, and also some lovely views. Old stone bridges add to its charm. In addition to providing a port for canal travelers, it also offers short excursions on the Canal.

Castelnaudary is just 62 kilometers (about 39 miles) southeast of Toulouse, and 41 kilometers (25 miles) from Carcassonne. Much of the drive is along the Canal du Midi, which makes it interesting and scenic.


Carcassonne

Canal du Midi

Toulouse

About Languedoc

Food and Drink in Languedoc

About France

 

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Cassoulet, Castelnaudary, France

Above, Mmm, a hot bowl of rich cassoulet, served with a salad and a glass of red wine.

Below, Boats in the Grand Bassin, Castelnaudary, on the Canal du Midi.

 

Boats, Grand Bassin, Castelnaudary, France

   
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