Le Canal du Midi: The Best way to discover the South of France!

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.

A lovely evening by the Canal du Midi...getting ready for a lovely dining experience!

A lovely evening by the Canal du Midi…getting ready for a lovely dining experience!

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…

Views of the medieval city of Carcassonne by BikeTours

Views of the medieval city of Carcassonne by BikeTours

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.

I love walking in Toulouse by night, after a nice Cassoulet..of course!

I love walking in Toulouse by night, after a nice Cassoulet..of coursI simply love following the Canal du Midi whether is on a barge, riding a bike or simply driving alongside when my I am short in time. Le Canal is to me a reduction of all I love the most about La France: beautiful landscapes, nice weather, cultural heritage, characterful villages and splendid local food… all accompanied with great times sharing experiences and, why not, an apperitive with the very merry southern French!

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 !

Follow the Canal du Midi and discover villages full of character and poignant Occitan history. Map from barginginfrance.com

Follow the Canal du Midi and discover villages full of character and poignant Occitan history. Map from barginginfrance.com

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!

Enjoy getting lost in the medieval City of Carcassonne by day and by night...

Enjoy getting lost in the medieval City of Carcassonne by day and by night…

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.

View of teh village of Bram from petitfute.com

View of the village of Bram from petitfute.com

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 original medieval covered market in Lagrasse

The original medieval covered market in Lagrasse

It is so beautiful to just get lost in Lagrasse for the day...

It is so beautiful to just get lost in Lagrasse for the day…

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!

Enjoying a nice and fresh walk along the Canal in summer

Enjoying a nice and fresh walk along the Canal in summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Cristina Alias

As a French native speaker with Master Degrees in European culture & communications, Cristina enjoys writing about luxury travel, gastronomy and lifestyle. With international experience in the communications & marketing industry, Cristina combines her real life passions with a career in Digital Marketing. Thanks to her professional & travel experience. Cristina specializes in first-hand luxury travel & lifestyle topics. Cristina's favorite saying: Keep calm > La vie est belle !
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