Canal du Midi: an amazing canal through the South of France

Explore the South of France in a unique way by cruising Canal du Midi. This canal, designed and built by Pierre-Paul Riquet from 1662 until 1681, can be found on the Unesco world heritage list and for a good reason. The 240 km long canal starts in Étang de Thau, a hidden lagoon behind the port of Sète and ends in Toulouse, where it is connected to the Canal de Garonne. Since the opening of the canal in 1681, it can still be perceived as French civil engineering at its finest. The long canal contains 91 locks and several aqueducts where the canal crosses rivers.

This winding canal will take you from the Atlantic side of France to the Mediterranean side of the country. A boat trip on Canal du Midi is the perfect opportunity to explore the gorgeous, versatile and impressive region of France. 

Boat trip on Canal du Midi

Enjoy France as you have never done before, at a relaxing pace during an unforgettable river trip. 

France at its best

Cruising Canal du Midi means that you will discover one of the most popular waterways of France. It makes a perfect holiday location for every type of tourist. No sailing license is needed, which allows every boat lover to discover France is a unique way. Cruise from the stunning city of Bordeaux, located near the Atlantic Ocean, to the Mediterranean port of Sète. Along the way, you will find yourself surrounded by typical French landscapes when passing countless sunflower- and cornfields.

Pure joy from spring till autumn

The canal runs through fascinating landscapes. Every turn in the canal results in different scenery. Canal du Midi crosses a lot of wine-growing areas, such as the Aude, Minervois, and Corbières. Throughout the year, Canal du Midi is a perfect holiday destination. In spring, you will be surrounded by budding nature. In summer, the fifty thousand trees planted along the shore will create a natural green roof over the canal. And the amazing brown, red and orange colors in the fall will definitely blow your mind. Cruise the water in peace and take in the beautiful nature around you.

Canal-du-Midi is known for the many wonderful trees planted along the waterside

Canal-du-Midi is known for the many wonderful trees planted along the waterside a long time ago, now forming a green natural roof during the summer. 

Exploring Canal du Midi is also exciting from shore. It is possible to cycle and hike along the banks of the entire canal. Discover the countless vineyards and French countryside. You will pass many charming villages with cozy cafes, which will serve you delicious French delicacies. Spending some time onshore also gives you the opportunity to discover the many details of the bridges and aqueducts. This makes the canal the perfect holiday location for nature and culture lovers!

Nature, history and the good life

A boat trip on Canal du Midi enables you to visit some incredible cities. Explore the medieval streets in Toulouse, the old fortress in the city center of Carcassonne and enjoy the good weather in Narbonne. In Béziers, you will find the passage of the Neuf Ecluses de Fonserannes, a technical masterpiece of nine locks. The aqueduct, or ‘pont-canal’, at Béziers which spans the river Orb, is likewise a special highlight on the route. 

A river cruise from Béziers to Carcassonne takes you along many wonderful villages along Canal-du-Midi

A river cruise from Béziers to Carcassonne takes you along many wonderful villages along Canal-du-Midi. 

Canal du Rhône à Sète

Last but not least we want to mention the picturesque Canal du Rhône à Sète. This waterway is made up of two previously constructed canals, the Canal des Étangs and Canal de Beaucaire and connects the Rhône river with Canal du Midi. It stretches out over just under 100 km from Bauecaire to Sète.  Note that in Bauecaire there is no connection with the Rhône since the lock has been closed for many years, unfortunately. But there are many other great things that make up for that. Lots of work has been done to upgrade this sea-level canal. We are proud to offer several wonderful river cruises here, which are unique in every way. When cruising from the wonderful historic city of Béziers to Aigues-Morte you will have the Mediterranean Sea on your right and wonderful lakes on your left. An experience never to forget.

Although you will be making a river cruise on fresh water, you will be able to enjoy views over the Mediterranean Sea during your trip

Although you will be making a river cruise on fresh water, you will be able to enjoy views over the Mediterranean Sea during your trip. 

Cruising to the Lac du Thau you will see wildlife in the natural reserve and Lac Occitan. During your river trip, you can visit the towns Béziers, Bagnas, Aresquiers, Aigues-Mortes and Vias (and its waterpark). The interesting part about this region is that it offers both typical influences of the sea (beaches, snorkeling, amazing seafood) as well as from the countryside (cheese, wine and all those other things that make life even better).

Liberty river trips and all-inclusive river trips

Just go through our river trips in this region and get inspired! currently features a variety of river trips on these canals. They can be fitted to your particular needs. Some are crewed barges (“Liberty River Trips”) with a captain and a sailor, and others are full-service barges (“All Inclusive River Trips”).

During the 'Liberty River Trips', you have the boat, a minimum crew to operate and manage it aboard. And, of course, their specialized advice for a tailor made planning of your holiday. Due to the reduced services onboard, the river trip is much cheaper and you are free to decide what you want to do every day.

If you choose an All-Inclusive River Trip, you will enjoy all the benefits of the boat, its minibus for excursions, a full crew composed of a captain, a guide, a stewardess, and a chef. There is a fixed planning (that can be customized to meet your expectations and desires), food and drinks are at your disposal onboard, transport and a guide are included, so is the full hotel service.

Remember, each river cruise has its particularities. Which are greatly dependent on the owner, the region's history and your own desires. Options can range from bikes onboard, to special cuisine, an open bar, a bathtub on deck, daily cabin cleaning.. you name it!

Have a look at the river cruises we offer, or contact us in order to discover more about these itineraries and what they have to offer. Just mention to Marc you'd like to make use of our 'Sailor Taylor Service'! It will be our pleasure to talk to you about these river trips, the regions we cruise through and we'd be glad to answer any questions you might have. Our aim is to prepare your own and particular experience because your river trip is who you are: unique.

Picturesque village along the way during a river cruise in France

One of the many picturesque villages along the way, waiting to be discovered by you during a river cruise in France. We make it happen!

Contact Marc to plan your cruise!