France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Canal du Midi, France
An engineering marvel from the 17th century that thrives today!




France's Canal du Midi, an engineering marvel from the 1600s, is among the country's most beautiful and engaging waterways.

It offers wonderful opportunities for boating and biking and is a very popular attraction in southern France. More...

Extending from Toulouse to the Mediterranean at Sète, it was a crucial strategic military and commercial highway for centuries. It is part of the larger Canal des Deux Mers, connecting the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. More...

People had long envisaged a waterway that would connect the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. In the 1500s King François I, with his friend Leonardo da Vinci, considered the project, but it wasn't accomplished until the late 1600s, under King Louis XIV.

Pierre-Paul Riquet was the mastermind, starting his work in 1654 and continuing until his death in 1681, at which point the canal was almost complete. Riquet is memorialized at Seuil de Naurouze, along the Canal. More...

The Canal du Midi was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. According to UNESCO, 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. 

You can walk or bike along it, cruise along it in a canal boat, or just enjoy a short visit to see how it was built and to watch the locks in operation.

Some of the best places to enjoy it are Seuil de Naurouze, Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, Toulouse, and Narbonne.

Canal du Midi Recreation

Canal Barge Cruises



Seuil de Naurouze


Canal des Deux Mers

About Languedoc

About the Pyrénées Region


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Canal du Midi, France

Above, A tranquil view of the Canal du Midi and its bike/foot path.

Below, Boats in the port at Castelnaudary, a major stopping point on the Canal du Midi.


Boats in Castelnaudary, Canal du Midi, France

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