[76] Near the old basin of Naurouze the Naurouze pumping station helps to regulate the water in the Canal du Midi and the lake. The Canal du Midi is also a great and peaceful place right in the heart of a luxuriant greenery. The challenges in these works are closely related to the challenges of inland water transport today. This longitudinal profile of the Canal du Midi shows it rising from Toulouse (1) to the Seuil de Naurouze (2), then dropping down to Castelnaudary (3), Carcassonne (4) and Trèbes (5). [12], The projects were not launched for fear of losing too much money and conviction of the human impossibility to dig such a canal. In fact, this river was already under development for navigation. The Canal du Midi, designed and built by Pierre-Paul Riquet in 1662-1681, is a remarkable work of engineer­ing, justifying its inclusion in the Unesco world heritage list in 1996, and one of the most popular cruising waterways in France. At the inauguration of the canal at Toulouse on 15 May, the King's steward and the president of the Estates of Languedoc travelled first on the canal followed by many other boats carrying particularly wheat. [31], Despite a project that seemed precarious, Colbert authorized commencement of work by a royal edict in October 1666[32] after the approval of a committee of experts that looked at the route of the canal for several months. The making of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [106] As the United States Ambassador to France he envisaged the construction of a similar work to link the Potomac River to Lake Erie. [104] King Louis XIV, who was the sponsor, also left it as a mark of his commitment to grandeur. [54], In Toulouse, a group of three people form a steering committee: the director general of works, the Receiver General who sets the fees, and the Comptroller General in charge of accounting. Finally, he reinforced a lot of works and dams originally built by Riquet. Toulouse has two ports: the port de l'Embouchure is located at the junction of the Canal du Midi, the Canal de Brienne, and the Lateral canal of the Garonne while Port Saint-Sauveur is located in the centre of town near the Hall of Grains. A real life hydraulic museum, the Canal du Midi is overflowing in cultural richness and beautiful scenery. Enjoy life aboard 'Anjodi' as you cruise the historic Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the 17th century. The Canal du Midi is a summit-level canal because it must pass over a height between two valleys. [78] It has not been downgraded and remains open for navigation. The Canal du Midi is one of the oldest canals of Europe still in operation (the prototype being the Briare Canal). Riquet solved these problems on the one hand by digging the Malpas Tunnel and secondly by building at Fonserannes a row of eight lock chambers to the Orb. [18] He was inspired by the French engineer Adam de Craponne who had implemented the same system for the Craponne Canal. Canal management ensures the supply of money to pay for various works and staff hired for the canal. [41] He also offered accommodation for two deniers per day. The canal brought commercial prosperity to the region. A horse can tow up to 120 times its weight when the load is on the water. Lo and behold, there she was – the UNESCO-listed Canal du Midi – and, nestled in her bend, the most splendid boat I’d ever clapped eyes upon. MSM. The Canal Du Midi is unique in the fact that it is surrounded by thousands of trees. Le Trouve Tout du Livre Bookshop on the Canal du Midi in Le Somail, France After spending too much time being on the boat yesterday, Beryl and I opted to walk along the canal towpath and meet the boys for lunch in Ventenac-em-Minervois, just 4.5 kilometres away. The workforce was made up of farmers and local workers whose number varied from one period to another during the year. Carters and carriers, the Farriers and owners of sawmills were also requisitioned for the works. Platanus (Plane Trees) is a particular source of problems because their roots destroy the banks and the paved cycle paths and their leaves invade the canal. [11] These projects were abandoned because they did not give enough thought to the water supply for the canal and provided a system of diversion of water from Pyrénées rivers too complex or impossible to implement. Cybelle island in the middle of the basin was used to protect the barges from the wind. Picturesque Languedoc is France’s most productive wine region with many delicious ‘drink now’ varieties on sale, direct from the vineyards (free tastings welcomed) that border the waterway, for just a few euros per bottle. [19] The Montagne Noire is a region with twice the rainfall of the plain of Lauragais with 1400 millimetres per year at around 500–600 m above sea level. Despite many precautions, the canal silts up with silt from the water supply. He then built a test channel diverting water from the Sor to the Seuil de Naurouze. The Dutch could take better advantage of trade and economic activity in the country. Discontent from farm owners, however, forced Riquet to reduce pay to 15, then 12 sols per day. The canal was also magnified by the Encyclopedia or Reasoned Dictionary of Science, Arts, and Crafts by Diderot and D'Alembert in 1765 who highlighted its value and greatness. The Canal du Midi as a grand piece of infrastructural engineering in itself was promoted as worthy of Rome and the political dreams behind it were clarified with plaques in Latin, and walls built with Roman features. It was eventually equipped with 14 locks in order to bring building materials for the canal down from the mountains and to create a new port for the mountain town of Revel. However, the canal suffered from a size too small for later barges with high tonnage. The construction of such a structure would save vessels (of trade but also the king's galleys) and goods from sailing around the Iberian Peninsula which could take a month to complete. As for the railway, the Bordeaux–Sète railway carried almost 200 million tonne-kilometres in 1860. But, you will forgive my enterprise when you know that it is on the order of Monseigneur the Archbishop of Toulouse that I write to you. Carcassonne is today a major tourist stop on the canal and has a port built in 1810 at the time when the city was connected to the canal. You could also taste some other local food such as the fougasse as a “mise en bouche” or the famous Foie Gras. Smells like good French cuisine on board your Penichette! The canal was well managed and run as a paternalistic enterprise until the revolution. You’ll have a hard time choosing where to go first ! [14], In May 1681 the channel was thoroughly inspected by order of the king to check the work and the water-tightness of the canal. Similarly, Bernard Forest de Bélidor congratulated the designer in Hydraulic Architecture. [37], Ultimately, while the initial budget was six million livres, all the work together would cost between 17 and 18 million livres of the time,[38] 40% was advanced by the King, 40% by the province, and 20% by Riquet himself, who became the owner. The canal became an example in Europe as throughout the Age of Enlightenment it was the only canal of this size in Europe.[105]. Canal du Midi cruises sail through rolling countryside and canal-side vineyards – all under the dappled shade of plane trees lining the canal. A floodway was quickly dug to drain the Naurouze basin from the south. My husband and I exchanged glances and approached with the sort of caution you’d normally reserve for a wild animal. The system was a masterpiece of both hydraulic and structural engineering, and served as an early ratification of Riquet's vision. In the 1770s a tax report showed an income of 640,000 livres, half of which went to maintenance and salaries, and half the profits and funds were exceptional works. CANAL DU MIDI Go back to its roots. This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 11:09. In November 1667 an official ceremony laid the foundation stone of the Garonne lock in Toulouse in the presence of representatives of the Parliament of Toulouse, the Capitouls (sheriffs), and the Archbishop of Toulouse, Charles-François d'Anglure de Bourlemont. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars! Canal and spillways was opened to navigation on the construction of a new city around this basin that never the... 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