Autumn '06 Adventures

Canal du Midi

We've been fascinated for some time by the Canal du Midi, built in the 1600s to connect the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. With such innovations as a 9-step lock complex, a tunnel, and a reservoir and aqueduct system to bring water to the canal's highest point, it was quite a remarkable achievement for those days, and it is still in use.

In September some friends, Charlotte and Dave DeMoney, advised that they were about to hire a boat for a trip on the Canal, so we took that as an excuse to explore the area for ourselves (by land rather than boat) and to meet up with them in the process. (Charlotte describes the details of their trip in her excellent blog, which includes a wealth of interesting information on this and other adventures they've had while living in southern France.)

Canal du Midi

Action at a Lock

The canal's distinctive rounded locks can hold several boats at once, and things can get busy during the boating season. And since most of the boaters have limited experience, they can get exciting as well.

Port of Homps - Canal du Midi

We stayed at a nice B&B in this town and used it as a base for exploring the area. The interesting sites on the canal are only a short drive apart by car, but by boat, it takes much longer, especially with the slow speed of the boat and with getting through the locks.

Shutters and Shadows - Homps

Interesting patterns and colors on an old house fronting on the canal.

Milpas Tunnel - Canal du Midi

This was the first canal tunnel ever built, in the 1670s. In the 1800s a railroad tunnel also was dug through the hill above the canal tunnel. Both are still very much in use.

Etang de Montady

Next to the canal and railroad tunnel is a lake that was drained in the 13th century and divided into unique pie-shaped fields. It's really big - note the full-sized trees toward the lower left and the town in the distance.

Mill and Lock - Canal du Midi

At sunset in the port town of Trebes, not far from Carcassonne.

Charlotte's Boat

We met Charlotte and Dave, along with Dave's brother Mike, in Trebes and shared a local aperitif on their deck.


This old medieval town is in the heart of the Minervois wine region and a short drive from the canal. At the left is a natural bridge that we could walk through, as the river was dry then.