Sète - Capestang

Although Sète is not, strictly speaking, on the Canal du Midi, the city is an essential stop on the way to the Mediterranean Sea. It is separated from the mouth of the canal, which ends at the Onglous Lighthouse, by the Bassin de Thau. The city is closely linked to the canal, to which it owes its existence. Indeed, the history of the city began with the creation of the canal.

From Sète to Vias

Sète (34200)

Colbert initiated the construction of a port in 1667, (completed in 1684 and inaugurated by Vauban), the site of which would later became a city. Thanks to its strategic position linking the canal, pond and sea, Sète experienced a significant economic development from the trade of goods and cargo.
The Barques de Poste, hauled by horses, sailed between 1673 and 1858 on the canal. It took four days to reach Sète from Toulouse. Stops at noon were called "dînées" (dinners). Layovers for the night were called "couchées" (lie-downs).

Not to miss: Décanale Saint Louis (church) – Notre Dame de la Salette (church) - Old Port and the Canal Royal - Théâtre de la Mer Jean Vilar (theater).
 

Sète – Toulouse Itinerary
Day 1: Dînée in Fonsérannes, couchée in Somail.
Day 2: Dînée in La Redorte, couchée in Trebes, then Carcassonne.
Day 3: Dînée in Avignonet Lauragais, couchée in Castelnaudary.
Day 4: Dînée in Négra, arrival in Toulouse.

Tourist Office
60, Grand'rue Mario Roustan, 34200 Sète
Website - tel : 04 99 04 71 71.
Opening time:
October through March, Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
April, May, June and September, Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
July and August, daily: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.


The Onglous Lighthouse, Marseillan commune

This point is where the waters of the Canal du Midi mingle with those of the Bassin de Thau, famous for its oysters (Bouzigues). The site features a port for barges, the Port des Onglous. A small lighthouse marks the end of the canal. The pond is crossed by a channel, 20 kilometers to Sète.

Marseillan (34340)

A charming small port town at the crossroads of an exceptional environment (Thau Basin, Mediterranean Sea, Canal du Midi).


Touriste Office
Avenue de la Méditerranée, 34340 Marseillan Plage
Website - tel : 04 67 21 82 43

Opening times: October through March, Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 13:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. ; April, May, June and September, every day: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; July and August, every day: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities.


Agde (34300)

Agde is one of the oldest cities in France. Over 2,600 years ago, Agde was a Greek port of trade. The round lock (1680) is one of the first structures built along the Canal du Midi. Its design, unique at the time, is no less functional because it turning function allows boats to choose which channel to take. One joined the river Hérault, the other the sea, the last the Canal du Midi. The construction visible today no longer resembles the original lock built in basalt stones.
Not to miss: Saint Etienne Cathedral (12th century) in basalt, like many buildings, including the city walls. Market on Thursdays.


Tourist Office
Place Belle Agathoise, 34300 Agde
Website - tel : 04 67 31 87 50.
Opening time:
October through March, Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sunday).
April and May: daily: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30/ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
June, Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 12:30/ 2:30 p.m. to 6:30, Saturday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 2p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
July, August and September: Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.


Boat rentals by the day or longer

La Maison du Canal/ Ad Navis
80 Grand rue
, 34290 Servian
Website - tel : 04 67 90 95 51.
Boat and barge rental, as well as accommodation on hotel barges.

Les  Canalous
34130 Carnon
Website - tel : 03 85 53 76 74.
Also located in Colombiers, Homps and Carcassonne.

Boats rides

Les Bateaux du Soleil

6 rue chassefières, 34300 Agde
Website - tel : 04 67 94 08 79.

Also located in Colombiers and Béziers-Fonsérannes.

Vias (34450)

The old Vias has the typical friendly charm of Mediterranean villages where life is good. The city features the beautiful fortified Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste (church, 15th century) in basalt.
Nearby is the Pont du Libron (17th century), initiated in 1858. A unique technical achievement, this movable bridge passes over the canal. The objective of the bridge was to allow passage at any time and in any weather, even during the great floods of the river. The bridge allows the canal to pass under the Libron without the latter overflowing.


Tourist Office
Avenue de la Méditerranée, 34450 Vias
Website - tel : 04 67 21 76 25
Opening times: October through March: Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. April, May, June and September, Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday and holidays: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; July and August, every day: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Bicycle Rental
Cyril Cycles

49 ter Boulevard de la Liberté, 34450 Vias
Website - tel : 04 67 21 56 07

From Portiragnes to Béziers

Portiragnes (34420)

Charming village along the canal. Features a beautiful church, Eglise Saint Félix, from the 12th century.


Tourist Office
Place du Bicentenaire
, 34420 Portiragnes
Website - tel : 04 67 90 92 51.
Opening time:
January through March, Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
April and May, daily: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30/ 2p.m. to 6 p.m.
June through September, daily: 9 a.m./ 7 p.m.
October, Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m./ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
November and December, Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m./ 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Boat rentals by day or longer

Le Boat
Port Cassafières
Website - tel : 04 68 94 42 80.
Company also located in Trebes, Homps, Castelnaudary and Narbonne. Rentals from two days to two weeks. Departure possible from many ports on the canal. This company has the largest fleet of rental boats.

Villeneuve-Lès-Béziers (34420)

Not to miss:  A beautiful Romanesque church from the 10th century and a castle tower from the 16th century.


Information Desk
La Gabare, Canal du Midi, 34420 Villeneuve-Lès-Béziers
Tel : 04 67 62 95 67 or 04 99 41 36 36.
Opening times:
From October through March, Thursday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
April trough September, daily: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Pont de Caylus Aquacuture (with children)
Rue de la Source, 34420 Villeneuve-Les-Beziers
Tel : 04 67 39 32 48.
Open from June through August, every day. June: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; July and August: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Have fun with the family catching and eating fish on site.

Béziers (34500)

Béziers is the hometown of Paul Riquet, where he was born in 1609. A masterful statue reminds visitors of this near the Tourist Office.


Tourist Office, Historical Center 
Branch
2, Place Gabriel Péri, 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 04 99 41 36 36
Opening times:
October through March, Monday to Saturday: : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
April through June and September, daily : 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
July and August, daily: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Tourist Office, Ecluses de Fonserannes 
Branch
Ecluses de Fonserannes, 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 04 67 28 13 05.
Opening time:
October through March, Wednesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1p.m./ 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
April through June , daily: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 2p.m. to 6 p.m.
July and August, daily: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.


The Ecluse Multiple de Fonsérannes
Special Feature: the lock follows a fixed schedule. Descent: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ascent: 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. ( April to 5:15 p.m.).

The eight-door Fonsérannes Lock, completed in 1681, is the main masterpiece of the Canal du Midi. But don’t try to count the doors! Only seven locks are used today.

Remarkable technical prowess allows for a total ascent of 21.5 meters, and the eight beautiful oval basins that span over 300 meters are spectacular. Icing on the cake, the site offers a panoramic view of Béziers and its region. But the magic of this place attracts a lot of people, and in the summer on the road, traffic jams are possible. On the water, more than 50 boats travel through the locks every day!

Fonsérannes was also the lunch stop, the "dinée," for postal boats. It was the mid-day break point during in the first day from Sète, and the fourth and final day from Toulouse. And as in other stages of the journey, the site has a chapel, now converted into an information center about the Canal du Midi.

The Fonsérannes Locks ars under renovation until June 2017. They are not passable by boat.


The navigable aqueduct of the Orb (1857-1858)
For nearly two centuries, the route of the Canal du Midi crossed the Orb River through a passage lock. But passing through this unpredictable river during floods periods was too risky, so a navigable aqueduct was built in 1857, 240 meters long and 28 meters wide. The structure is supported by seven arches.


Boat rides

Les Bateaux du Midi
14 rue des écluses, 34500 Béziers
Website  - tel : 04 67 36 51 24.
Also located at the Port de Colombiers.

Les Bateaux du Soleil

6 rue chassefières, 34300 Agde
Website - tel : 04 67 94 08 79.

Also located in Colombiers and Agde.

With the Family

Musée du Biterrois
Caserne Saint-Jacques, rampe du 96e, 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 04 67 36 81 61.
Full price/ reduced price : €3/ €2.
Opening time: September through May, Tuesday to Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June through August: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

This museum retraces the history of Béziers, focusing on the city and especially its natural landscapes. Features a botanical garden and a children’s’ garden on site. During the summer, the museum proposes art and heritage workshops for children 7 to 15 years old.

Captain Frimousse
Domaine de Luch, 
Route de Narbonne
 (RD609
), 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 09 51 90 90 23.
Opening times: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. During school holidays, every day: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Covered play area for children 1 to 12 years old.

From Colombiers to Capestang

The grand Bief
On the route of the canal, crossing the colline (hill) du Malpas was a serious problem. It was necessary to keep the canal at the highest altitude possible upstream over a long distance, dig a tunnel through the mountain and build a multiple lock to lower the channel level 12 meters to arrive in Béziers. The Grand Bief (a reach) stretches 54 kilometers and rises to 31 meters high between the Fonsérannes and Argens Minervois locks. Geographic constraints could not compete with the ingenuity of the canal’s designer.
This is the most enjoyable part of the canal, where the view is superb. On a clear day the Pyrenees Mountains are visible to the south, while the Regional Natural Park of Haut Languedoc is visible to the north.


Colombiers (34440)
Life in Colombiers is organized around the canal. The recently-installed port offers all shops and convenient services for the modern traveler. Epicerie du Port (convenience store), tel : 04 67 98 62 71.


Maison du tourisme (Tourist Information Center)
Cave du Château, Le Port, 34440 Colombiers
Website - tel : 04 67 37 00 90.
Open daily from April through October. April: 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; May through August: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. ; September: 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 18:30 p.m. ; October: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Boats Rides

Les Bateaux du Midi
Website - tel : 04 67 36 51 24.

Les Bateaux du Soleil

Website - tel : 04 67 94 08 79.

Rentals by the day or longer

Les Canalous
Website - tel : 03 85 53 76 74.
Company also located in Agde, Carcassonne and Homps.

The Oppidum d’Ensérune (34440)
Site and musée archéologique d’Ensérune, 
34440 Nissan-lez-Ensérune
  - tel: 04 67 37 01 23.
Full price / reduced price: €5.50 / €4.50. Free for EU citizens under 26 years old, non-EU citizens under 18 years old
Opening times: April through September: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; May-August: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; October to March: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Classified as a World Heritage site

An oppidum is a village perched on the heights, sometimes accompanied by a defense system. An extremely interesting site. The Colline d’Ensérune (hill) was inhabited from the 6th century BC onward, and was one of the most important cities of southern Mediterranean area. From this period, there are only a few remnants left on the site today, and many exceptional pieces are housed in the museum is at the top of the hill (antic dishes, furniture, ornaments ...).

The Voie Domitienne passed nearby, a Roman road built from 118 BC to connect Italy to Spain. The Ensérune Oppidum is directly next to the Maison du Malpas and the tunnel of the same name.


Le Malpas (34440)


Tourist Office, La Maison du Malpas
Route de l’Oppidum 
34440 Colombiers
Website - tel : 04 67 32 88 77.
Opening times: November through February, Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ; October, March and April, Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ; May to August, every day: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; September, every day: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Footpaths for walking around. Visit also possible with a guide.


The Tunnel du Malpas

The Malpas Tunnel is one of the exceptional works along the canal. In 1679, the year of its completion, was the first time anyone had drilled a tunnel for a canal. Moreover Colbert, on the orders of Louis XIV, had refused this option, favoring a bypass of Colline du Malpas (meaning "bad way" in Occitan) and instead crossing the Aude, a much longer journey. But Riquet did not budge, and dug the tunnel in the Ensérune Mountain without telling Colbert. It was an undeniable technical success! Riquet pierced into the mountain’s tuff, a kind of crumbly rock, and constructed a stone vault composed of 29 arches supports the structure. At 170 meters long, 6 meters high and 8 meters wide, it was one of the last of Riquet’s masterpieces. He would die a few months later.


Poilhes (34310)

Archaeological excavations have confirmed the existence of a village on this site for over two thousand years. Poilhes is today a charming town. The canal passes through the center, in front of city hall.


Capestang (34310)

The village of Capestang has experienced, since the Middle Ages, an important economic development through its salt resources. This city is why the Archbishops of Narbonne retired or spent their summers.

Not to miss : Château des Archevêques (Archbishops’ Castle, open Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For visits, contact the Tourist Office.). Exceptional painted ceiling featuring 161 decorative panels from the 15th century. Collégiale Saint-Etienne (Collegiate Church, 13th century) in Gothic architecture, though unfinished. Bell tower with panoramic views of the surrounding area (visit possible).

For children : playground, skate-park. Treasure hunt and games available at the Tourist Office.

The town and the port of Capestang are very lively, especially in the summer. A very nice site for taking a break. Capitainerie du port de Capestang (Port Master): tel : 04 67 00 31 04.

Capestang market on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, on Place Jean Jaurès.


Tourist Office - Maison Cantonnière
Quai Elie Amouroux, 34310 Capestang
Website - tel : 04 67 37 85 29.
Opening times: November through March, Monday to Friday : 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ; April, May, June, September and October Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ; July and August, every day: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ;


Boat Rental

Hapimag
Quai Elie Amouroux, 34310 Capestang
Website - Tel : 04 67 39 21 66.
Rental for small, equipped boats.

Navigable Aqueduct of Cesse 

This navigable aqueduct did not exist originally. It was added by Vauban in 1690. From here begins the Canal de la Robine that leads to Narbonne, and then to Port la Nouvelle and eventually flows out in the Mediterranean Sea.

Sleeping / Eating

Accommodation

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 (d: double, tr. Triple, q: quadruple).

Chambres d’hôtes "La Chamberte"
10 rue de la source, 34420 Villeneuve-Lès-Béziers
Website - tel : 04 69 00 12 86.
Price from €83.
"Dinner menu" : €28.

Hôtel de France **
34 rue Boïeldieu, 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 04 67 28 44 71.
Price from : d. €46/ tr. €65/ q. €85.

On a Houseboat

Péniche Béatrice (cruises)
Port Cassafières, 34420 Portiragnes
Website - tel : 06 03 25 00 42.
No rates only for one night.

L’Appart des Anges
Canal du Midi, 34420 Cers
Website - tel : 06 11 11 05 87.
Price from €138.
Bikes on lend.


Eating

The selection of restaurants proposed below consists of restaurants that offer a good price/quality value. These addresses arenearby 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.

Le Chameau Ivre - Bistrot
15 Place Jean Jaurès, 34500 Béziers
 Tel : 04 67 80 20 20.
"Menu" from €16.

Le Bistro d'Hervé - Regional products
47 Rue Brescou, 34300 Agde
Tel : 04 67 62 30 69.
"Lunch Formule" during the week €16. "Menu" from €32.

La Maison de Petit Pierre - Creative cuisine
22 Avenue Pierre Verdier, 34500 Béziers
Website - Tel : 04 67 30 91 85.
"Lunch Formule" from €15, "Dinner menu" from €40.

Octopus - Gourmet cuisine
12 Rue Boieldieu, 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 04 67 49 90 00.
"Lunch formule" : €25. "Menu" from €33.

L’Ambassade - Gourmet cuisine
22 Boulevard de Verdun, 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 04 67 76 06 24.
"Menu" from €30.

Along the Canal

Café de Plaisance - Traditional cuisine
1 quai Port Neuf, 34500 Béziers
Website - tel : 04 67 76 15 90.
"Lunch Formule" €13.50. Open only for lunch time.

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