This is the western part of the Canal du Midi. It is from the Naurouze watershed, located in this area, that the parting of the waters occurs. From this point, the water descends the slopes towards the Atlantic Ocean to the west, or toward the Mediterranean Sea to the east. These Montagne Noire (Black Mountain) waters feed the Canal du Midi at this, its highest point, through the Rigole de le Plaine (feeder canal).
Bram - Castelnaudary
Traces of its history have been found in the area, from the 2nd century BC onward. Those interested in more information can visit the Maison de l’Archéologie (archaeology museum).
Not to miss : Les Circulades (circular city center), 13th century Gothic church. Bike path between the Canal du Midi and the city center.
Market : Wednesday mornings.
Boat rental by the day or longer
Port de Bram, 11150 Bram
Website - tel : 04 68 76 73 34.
Bicycle rental also available.
Crossing Castelnaudary was not initially planned in Riquet’s project because of the significant additional costs that would ensue, like for the crossing of Carcassonne. The canal was to go around the village, but unlike Carcassonne, the consuls agreed to take on the extra costs, estimating that over the long term the city would benefit from having a port on the canal. And it’s a good thing they did, because thanks to this investment, the town would experience a booming economy and an unprecedented prosperity.
Castelnaudary became the capital of Lauragais and the main port between Sète and Toulouse. Many transit activities developed over time: pottery, wood, wine and especially flour passed through its port before being distributed throughout the southwest of France.
Of the thirty mills working at the time of the flour trade, only one remains, fully restored :"Le Moulin de Cugarel" from the 17th century.
Not to miss : Collégiale Saint Michel (collegiate church), Musée du Lauragais (museum). Market on Mondays.
Castelnaudary was the third “couchée”, or nighttime layover, on voyages from Agde and the first on voyages from Toulouse for the postal boats. The “couchées” took place on the banks of the Grand Bassin, near the Ecluse Saint Roch. The large reservoir of Castelnaudary provided an important stop on the route of the Canal du Midi and served as a stop for many barges and pleasure boats.
In the summer: delivery service for hot cassoulet on the canal from June to September and activities on the port.
Place de la République, 11400 Castelnaudary
Website - tel : 04 68 23 05 73.
March through June and October, Monday to friday: 9:30 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (until 5 p.m. on March and October), Saturday : 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
July, August and September: 9:30 a.m. to 1p.m./ 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
November through February, Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities.
Le Saint Roch
20 Quai Du Port, 11400 Castelnaudary
Website - tel : 04 68 23 49 40.
Boat rental by the day or longer
Le Grand Bassin, 11400 Castelnaudary
Website - tel : 04 11 92 04 04.
Also located in Portiragnes, Trebes, and Narbonne Homps. Rentals from two days to two weeks. Departure possible from many ports along the canal. This company has the largest fleet of rental boats.
Naurouze - Toulouse
Located at 190 meters above sea level, this point is the culmination of the Canal. Watershed and water supply from Saint Ferréol. An obelisk pays tribute to Pierre Paul Riquet. Also features marked trails for exploring the surroundings.
Seuil de Naurouze , 11320 Montferrand
Website - tel : 06 88 28 64 44.
Bicycle transport possible.
The sources of the Canal du Midi
Saint Ferréol (31250)
The Saint Ferréol lake was formed following the construction a dam 871 meters long and 35 meters high, built by Pierre Paul Riquet. The lake is filled by the Rigole de la Montagne (feeder canal) that captures water from the rivers and streams on the Montagne Noire (Black Mountain). Downstream from the lake, the Rigole de la Plaine guides water to the watershed point of Naurouze.
To see: lake, dam and arch (tunnel) of Vauban near the village of The Cammazes
To do: Bicyle along the Rigoles built by Riquet.
Place Philippe VI de Valois , 31250 Revel
Website - tel : 05 34 66 67 68.
April, May, June and September, Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
July and August: Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
October through March, Tuesday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m./ 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The Museum and Gardens of the Canal du Midi
Boulevard Pierre-Paul Riquet, Saint Ferréol, 31250 Revel
- tel : 05 61 80 57 57.
Full price / reduced price: €5 / €3. Free for children under 12 years old. Family package: €13.
Closed on January.
February and March: Tuesday to Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ;
April, May, June, September and October, Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ;
July and August, daily: 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
November and December, open for week-ends and school holidays: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Audioguide in 5 languages (€1).
Booklet for children (€1)
Located at the foot of the Saint Ferréol dam, this museum presents the history of the creation of the Canal du Midi and its designer Pierre-Paul Riquet. A discovery course is available for children in the museum, featuring the projection of a video illustrating the history of the canal.
Back on the Canal du Midi
Avignonet-Lauragais and Port Lauragais (31290)
Formerly in this windy region there were many windmills, though today there remain very few, though some have been restored, including in Avignonet. Modern wind turbines have now taken over.
Not to miss nearby: Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Miracles (church), an old tower from 1354 and a restored wind mill.
Near the village of Avignonet-Lauragais is a highway viewpoint that has been installed along the canal, along with a port. The village can also be accessed from the highway. It is the gateway to the department of Haute-Garonne (the fourth and last department crossed by the canal). The paved bike path that joins Toulouse (50 km away) starts here and runs along the canal, and is called the Voie Verte. It is without a doubt the best stretch to travel by bicycle.
Maison du canal du Midi et de la Haute Garonne
Aire de Port Lauragais, 31290 Avignonet Lauragais
Website - tel : 05 61 81 69 46.
This museum hosts a permanent exhibition about the Canal du Midi. Boutique.
31290 Port Lauragais
Website - tel : 06 75 28 60 83 or 05 61 55 10 91.
Rental of electric or houseboats.
31290 Port Lauragais
Website - tel: 02 41 56 46 56
Also present at Le Somail.
Boat Rentals nearby
Les Croisières en Douce
Renneville, 31290 Villefranche de Lauragais
Website - tel : 05 61 60 31 65.
The Ecluse de Négra was the first “dînée”, or lunch stop, for the postal boats coming from Toulouse. The navigable aqueduct of Négra crosses a small stream, the Thésauque. Visitors will note the presence of a chapel, as in other sites, where boats stopped at the station for lunch or nighttime layovers.
Not to miss : The lock and aqueduct.
10 Rue de Villenouvelle, Ecluse de Négra, 31450 Montesquieu-Lauragais
Website - tel : 03 86 91 72 72.
There is not only a lock but also a superb wash house, one of the last ones remaining from an era when they were very numerous throughout the canal until the last century.
Not to miss : an old wash house, a 12th century gothic church in the village.
Ramonville Saint-Agne (31520)
The canal’s arrival in Ramonville is ostensibly announced by the many houseboats parked on the canal banks. These ancient trading barges are often been renovated as places of residence. Ramonville Saint-Agne features a veritable marina, called Port Sud, which is very well equipped. A very pleasant stopover, its proximity to Toulouse also makes it convenient for exploring the city and its surrounding areas.
Capitainerie (Port master) : tel : 05 61 75 07 64.
Market Days: Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
4 rue Claude Chappe, 31520 Ramonville-Saint-Agne
Website - tel: 05 62 19 06 06.
The Convivencia Festival is a festival navigating on the Canal du Midi, offering at each stage a different musical program. World music concerts are given from the deck of a barge, rhythms lead the audience in a friendly atmosphere on the dock where you can eat and drink. Find news on the festival's website.
Rue Jacques Prévert, 31520 Ramonville-Saint-Agne
Website - Tel: 06 77 03 24 87.
Open from April to October.
After Ramonville, the canal arrived in Toulouse, the last stop on its route. The canal runs through the city to join the Garonne and its lateral canal, the resulting ensemble called the Canal des deux Mers (Canal of Two Seas). Many water features are positioned along the way: bridges, locks and ports, one after the other.
The Port Saint Sauveur was used for handling goods through the canal. It is here that the postal boats began (or finished) their journey. Further on, was the Port Saint Etienne (now defunct). This is where the tomb of Pierre Paul Riquet lies. The offices of the VNF (Waterways of France) and the archives of the canal are located nearby. Even further downstream, the Pont Riquet crosses the Canal at the top of the Jean Jaurès alleyways, where the statue of Pierre Paul Riquet stands (in white marble, 1853). The locks Bayard, Béarn des Minimes follow one another. Finally, the canal ends its course at the final Ecluse aux Ponts Jumeaux (Twin Bridges lock) before flowing into the Bassin de l’Embouchure (Basin of the Mouth). Three canals converge at this point: the lateral canal of the Garonne going to Bordeaux, the Canal du Midi and the Canal de Saint-Pierre (more commonly known the Canal de Brienne). The latter connects the Port de l'Embouchure (Port of the Mouth) to the Garonne River. The Ponts Jumeaux (Twin Bridges) and the Port of the Mouth form the western extremity of the Canal du Midi.
Donjon du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel : 08 92 18 01 80.
October through May, Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday and holidays: 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ;
June through September, Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday and public holidays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bas-relief of the Port de l’Embouchure (1773-1775) by François Lucas.
The work is an allegory : to the far left is the canal represented by a bearded man; on his right, two young geniuses, equipped with pickaxes, build a lock. In the center, Occitania is at the helm of a boat emblazoned with the coat of arms of Languedoc. In commanding gesture, she instructs the canal to receive the waters of the Garonne River, the other female figure in this fresco. The Garonne, holding a cornucopia, urges a genius laborer to encourage his oxen to draw a furrow in Lauragais.
Les bateaux Toulousains
108 Avenue Raymond Naves, 31500 Toulouse
Website - tel : 05 61 80 22 26.
Departures from Port Saint Sauveur or from Port de l'embouchure.
4 Boulevard de Bonrepos, 31000 Toulouse
(In front of the train station)
Website - tel : 05 61 25 72 57.
Website - tel: 08 00 11 22 05.
Self-service bicycles for use set up by the municipality, located at many stations throughout the city. Price: €1.20 / day.
Sleeping / Eating
The selection of accommodation proposed below consists of establishments that offer quality services at competitive rates, they are considered as references in their respective categories. These addresses are in the immediate vicinity of the Canal du Midi. The prices shown are for the off season, on the basis of 2 people .
Hôtel Albert 1er ***
8 Rue Rivals , 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel: 05 61 21 17 91.
Price from €79.
Hôtel Saint Sernin ***
2 rue Saint-Bernard, 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel: 05 61 21 73 08.
Price from €89.
Hôtel Le Grand Balcon *****
8 Rue Romiguières, 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel: 05 34 25 44 09.
Price from €119.
On a Houseboat
Chambres d’hôtes "La Péniche Amboise"
17 Boulevard Griffoul Dorval, 31400 Toulouse
Website - tel : 05 62 16 94 37.
Price from €89.
The selection of restaurants proposed below consists of restaurants that offer a good price/quality value. These addresses are nearby the Canal du Midi. “Formule” corresponds to a lunch special with a starter and a main course, or a main course and a dessert. The “menus” usually consist of a starter, a main course and a dessert," for lunch or dinner.
L'Ambrosia – Gourmet Cuisine
Domaine Madelaine, 11170 Pezens
Website - Tel : 04 68 24 92 53.
"Lunch Formule" during the week €25 €.Dinner and weekend "menu" from €39.
Le Tirou – local cuisine
90 Avenue Monseigneur de Langle, 11400 Castelnaudary
Website - Tel : 04 68 94 15 95.
"Lunch Formule" during the week €25.50. Dinner and weekend "menu" from €35.
Restaurants du marché Victor Hugo – market cuisine
Place Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse
"Menu" from €13.
Only open for lunch time.
Le J’Go – traditional cuisine
16 Place Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel: 05 61 23 02 03.
"Lunch formule" : €16. "Menu" from €28.
Solilesse - creative cuisine from fresh products
40 Rue Peyrolières, 31000 Toulouse
Website - Tel : 09 83 34 03 50.
"Lunch formule" €17.50. "Dinner menu" from €35.
Les Sales Gosses – seasonal cuisine
7 Rue de l'industrie, 31000 Toulouse
Website - Tel : 05 61 99 30 31.
"Lunch formule" €17.50. "Dinner menu" €32.
Chez Emile – traditional cuisine
13 place Saint Georges, 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel: 05 61 21 05 56.
"Menu" from €22.
Le Genty Magre – revisited local cuisine
3 Rue Genty Magre, 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel: 05 61 21 38 60.
"Menu" from €40.
Le Bibent – revisited french cuisine
5 Place du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse
Website - Tel : 05 34 30 18 37.
"Lunch formule" €19. "Dinner menu" €32.
Restaurant Michel Sarran - gourmet cuisine
21 Boulevard Armand Duportal, 31000 Toulouse
Website - tel: 05 61 12 32 32.
"Lunch menu" : €55. "Dinner menu" from €100.