7 Reasons To Cruise Canal du Midi In France

Sunrise over Canal du Midi, France

Thinking of going in sailing in France? The Canal du Midi is a stunning 300-year-old waterway in the south of France and a testament to French civil engineering excellence,

There are countless reasons why you should include it in your holiday plans. We list our top 7 reasons why you should cruise the Canal du Midi in France, below.  

Canal Cruises Are A Scenic Way To Travel

A barge cruise is not the only reason you may find yourself on the waters of the Canal du Midi. For British skippers sailing to the Mediterranean, it’s necessary to go through the Strait of Gibraltar. But those with shallow draught yachts can take this scenic alternative. 

Why sail through the Strait when you can meander on the Med? The Canal du Midi and Canal de Garonne, together known as the Canal de Deux Mers, connect Mediterranean France with the Bay of Biscay. 

You Can’t Resist Beautiful Scenery

Calling all nature lovers. There is still nothing that beats the tranquility of a slow cruise along a canal in a boat or houseboat. So if you love the outdoors, the Canal du Midi is an ideal destination for an Autumn break in France

One of the most beautiful waterways in France, if not the world, it is filled with pike and perch, lined by avenues of trees, and its banks are visited by mallard ducks, swans, swallows, and herons. 

Medieval Cities Are Your Thing

Is ancient architecture a passion of yours? If so, book your cruise along the Canal du Midi right away. There are beautifully preserved historical sites awaiting your exploration. 

Simply tie up your boat to one of the plentiful nature moorings, and go on a trip back in time. Discover ancient structures, timeless vineyards, and magnificent chateaux as you walk along cobblestone streets. Or hire a bike and cycle along the towpath while taking in the clean, fresh air. 

If you adore touring medieval structures, the fortified citadel at Carcassonne will delight you with its multitude of towers, awesome medieval architecture, and breathtaking views.

You Simply Love Boating In Beautiful Surroundings

Indulge your love of boating and hire a boat on the Canal du Midi. You don’t need a permit to hire a boat or houseboat on the Canal du Midi. The best time of year to sail the Canal du Midi is between April and early November, as temperatures stay warm into October. 

The low speed and navigation codes of canal cruising allow safe passage even for novice sailors. And there are moorings and facilities located at regular intervals. 

It’s A UNESCO World Heritage Site

The ancient Romans’ long-held dream of a waterway that linked the Atlantic with the Mediterranean was finally realized in the 17th century under King Louis XIV, the legendary Sun King. 

The result, the Canal du Midi, was pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, and two decades later it was named an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The 17th-century canal attained this honor due to its architectural and technical significance.

You’re Into French History

The Canal du Midi was aimed at providing a route for the transportation of passengers, textiles, wheat, and wine across the Mediterranean. Politically, this was viewed as a means of strengthening royal powers by opening up the Toulouse region through trade.

Many of the canal’s structures were designed in the neoclassical style, echoing the king’s desire to make France a New Rome. The Canal du Midi was hailed as a marvel of engineering worthy of Rome, and the king’s political dreams were inscribed in Latin on its walls.

Sadly, the goal of establishing an international waterway was not achieved, but the canal became one of the most important channels for national trade. And you can Soak up the history of the Canal du Midi while cruising on its waters.

It’s On Your Bucket List 

If it isn’t on your barging adventures bucket list, we are sure that you’ll want to add it by now. 

No matter what your reason for cruising the Canal du Midi, we know that you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime. 


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