Setting Sail on the Canal Du Midi

boat at lock station on the Canal Du MidiAfter a fantastic first couple of weeks in France we headed further South East for the small town of Le Somail. It was here that we would board our new mode of transport and accommodation for the next week as we travelled up the Canal Du Midi.

our boat and living quarters on the Canal Du Midi, FranceOur home on the water, rented from Nicole’s, was well equipped with two bedrooms, bikes, BBQ, lawn chairs, fully stocked kitchen and of course, a complimentary bottle of wine.

boating holiday with bikes on the Canal Du Midi, FranceTesting out the equipment

Now it was just us and the Canal for the next 7 days and 116 km to Port Lauragais.

Le Someal, starting point for our boating holiday up the Canal Du Midi, France

towns on Canal Du Midi during our boating holiday in FranceAlong the way we saw many beautiful towns,

famous fortified city of Carcassonne, Franceincluding the famous fortified town of Carcassonne which dates back to the Roman Empire (3rd and 4th centuries),

houses on Canal Du Midi, Francegorgeous homes,

Canal du Midi bridges and aqueductsbridges and aqueducts,

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France countrysideand stunning vistas of Frances countryside.

Canal du midi animalsWe also saw a few animals on route. Lydia and Callum loved feeding the birds from the boat as we made our way along the Canal.

While enjoying all the beautiful scenery, we also had to get through 61 locks. The original purpose of the Canal was to link the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. A huge vision and undertaking, especially for the times. After some intense planning and construction the Canal was filled with water and officially opened for transport in 1681. Since it’s opening, amazingly, the Canal has operated uninterrupted for more than 3 centuries.

boat at lock station on the Canal Du MidiOnce we arrived at the lock stations, we would pull over so I could jump off the boat and then meet the family inside the lock.

boat entering and tying up in the lock station on the Canal Du Midi, FranceHere’s the family bringing the boat into the lock. Once inside, Paul and Callum would toss me the bow and stern lines to ensure the boat was safely secured while the water rushed in. In this lock we were alone, but a lock station can hold up to 4 boats and depending on who was travelling with you, these stations could be quite entertaining. Lets just say they have good reason to put fenders all around the boats. We told Nicole’s that Paul worked for the “Canadian” Coast Guard so they gave us a couple extra precautionary fenders. Joking of course…in reality, Paul did a stand up job navigating the canal and the locks.

Lock Station on the Canal Du Midi, FranceThe majority of the locks we went through had a lock keep that controlled the gates, a station house and sometimes a little shop to buy local wine. We never wanted for wine that’s for sure.

Lock station statues on the Canal Du Midi

directional post on the Canal Du Midi, France

Some of the lock Keeps added a bit of personal flair to their stations.

dogs at the lock stations along the Canal Du Midi, France

dogs at the lock stations along the Canal Du Midi, FranceWe also met some furry friends while we waited for the locks to fill so we could carry on upstream.

Manning the wheel of the boat on the Canal Du Midi, FranceEveryone got an opportunity to man the wheel and Lydia even brought the boat into one of the locks.

Lamb steaks from fancy French restaurantCallum’s big request was to have one really fancy dinner while we were in France and it was here that he decided to try Lamb for the first time. Shocking to me, it was a hit!

IMG_6672And with that, I leave you with my favorite picture of Paul from our travels so far. A bike, a basket, a baguette and a bottle of wine. Living the dream Paul…living the dream.

We have now left France and are staying with a friend in the Beautiful country of Andorra.

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