If you are looking for a relaxing and peaceful yet exciting vacation the Canal du Midi in the South of France might be the ideal destination you haven’t thought about… yet!
Try to picture yourself slowly discovering one of the most beautiful areas of France at your pace on a narrow barge… The Canal is a dream for those looking to escape the stressful city live, go on a great and fun family holiday or simply enjoy the very best of French delights with friends, family or your beloved one.
The Canal is part of the French cultural heritage but it is also one of the locals favorite’s routes. To me, what makes the Canal du Midi so special is the area it crosses. Many French love walking along the nice and shady walking paths in the hot summer days and some other prefer the more active way to embrace it by riding horses or bikes along the canal. For many years now, the Canal du Midi has become a very popular barging holiday and people travel all over the world to discover the region from the slow running waters. But whichever way you chose to follow its path, you will be ensured to discover charming typical villages and get the real French experience…
Le Canal was built in the 17th century and originally named The Royal Canal, only after the French Revolution in 1780 it took its current and actual name Canal du Midi. Technically this Canal is a part of the extraordinary project which aimed to connect the Mediterranean sea to the Atlantic Ocean.The architect Pierre-Paul Riquet had the ambition and the skills to defy severe geographic obstacles but with the King’s support and the indefatigable locals hard work the Canal des Deux Mers (Canal de Garonne + Canal du Midi) was accomplished.
The Canal du Midi is the part linking the city of Toulouse to the Mediterranean sea.
If you are flying into Paris you can take a very short flight to Toulouse. If you are travelling from the UK, there are regular flights from London to Toulouse, Carcassonne and Narbonne: all on the Canal du Midi route. I would definitely consider staying one night in Toulouse on arrival, what French call La Ville Rose is a very pretty town, full of charm and history and, bien sur, house of the best French gastronomy! It is actually a perfect city for a night stay as all the historic center is pedestrian and all the main points of interest are at walking distances.
My favorite and most recommended route is to fly into Toulouse, spend a night discovering one of the most vibrant and charming cities of France and head to the starting point of the Canal where you can rent a barge for a week (or less if you can’t stay that long) and boat to Besiers where you can take a flight back to London, for example. You can also, comfortably drive along Le Canal making it easier to explore further areas and villages of interest. Note, that you will find bike rentals very easily !
Whether you are looking for a relaxing barging trip or you’re just looking for a nice itinerary across one of the most beautiful French regions, start planning your holiday along the Canal du Midi. Get amazed and get the real French experience while discovering amazing places like:
1.The fortified Cite Medievale de Carcassonne, no need to describe it, just experience it and go back in time to the Medieval Occitan era. History, architecture and gastronomy are there. get your camera ready, it is just unbelievable!
2. Le village de Bram, one of the most curious medieval villages in France as it was built perfectly circular. A part from its rich history and very unqiue arquitecture, Bram was a centre of Cathar belief, a heresy from Christianity.
3. Lagrasse, officially one of the most beautiful French villages. That tells it all! Get lost in the narrow pedestrian medieval streets, walk over the 12th century bridge, shop in the public medieval covered market or enjoy the river fresh water in the hot summer days. Lagrasse is simply magnifique...
The South of France is an unbelievable destination that offers peaceful holidays but with optional outdoors and sporty activities, history, charm, landscapes and lots, lots of great gastronomic experiences! Share my secret and follow me for more incredible tips about France!