Located in the Occitan region of southern France, Montréal is close to the world-famous Canal du Midi, which connects Toulouse with the Mediterranean Sea and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The 240 km long waterway leads through a magnificent Mediterranean landscape with lush vineyards and past medieval villages and historic towns where there are plenty of cultural treasures to discover.
Origin And Importance
A picturesque landscape, charming places and numerous sights along the way as well as the mild Mediterranean climate in southern France make the Canal du Midi extremely popular with holidaymakers. The 240 kilometre waterway from Toulouse to Sete was built in the 17th century to provide a direct link between the French Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean. The engineer Pierre-Paul Riquet designed the canal and supervised its construction, which began in 1667. The extremely expensive and complicated project, which required the construction of several reservoirs and dams, with its many aqueducts, bridges and sluices, is a masterpiece of engineering which, after its completion in 1694, gave the region an enormous economic boost. With the advent of motorways in the 1970s, the Canal du Midi became less and less important for trade. For some time now, however, it has enjoyed great popularity with tourists who like to travel on it on pleasure boats or houseboats. Beautiful paths along the banks of the river also invite you to take long walks and cycle tours. The canal has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
Route And Attractions Along The Route
Canal du Midi leads from Toulouse through Castelnaudary, Bram and Carcassonne to Trébes and from there through Capestang, Béziers and Agde to Sete to the Mediterranean Sea. Following the canal, you will pass picturesque vineyards, tranquil villages such as Montréal and Ventenac, splendid cathedrals, magnificent castles and ancient ruins. Starting point of the Canal du Midi is around the central Place du Capitol in the beautiful old town of Toulouse. Here, a lot of history and culture awaits you with imposing and magnificent buildings such as the Basilica Saint-Sernin and many museums. A highlight on the Canal du Midi is the city of Carcassonne, whose most remarkable sight is the Cité of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage since 1997. Every year, this huge fortified city amazes 4 million visitors from all over the world. The other little towns at the Canal du Midi lure with several cultural gems, plenty of romantic cafés and high-class restaurants that enchant vacationers with fine wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region and culinary specialties such as cassoulet, a casserole with white beans and meat. Family fun is available at the Canal du Midi in Luna Park in Le Cap d'Agde and at Raymond Chésa leisure park near Carcassonne.
Going On The Canal Du Midi By Houseboat
For many people it is a real dream: to sail with a houseboat on the Canal du Midi and enjoy the various impressions and views. Along the waterway there are numerous rental shops for boats, even if you are looking for some fun for a few hours only. A driving licence is not required; after a short briefing by the boat hirer you can start enjoying the Canal du Midi right away.