Top Ten France Classic Adventures

Barge the Canal du Midi
By Patricia Ochs

Slow-boat simplicity and natural beauty: two of the pleasures of canal barging. The place to do it is the Canal du Midi in Languedoc. Rent a piniche (a local barge) and pilot it yourself. Built during the reign of Louis XIV to connect commerce between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the canal now exists for travelers to chill out at several miles an hour for five to six hours a day. Biking or inline skating alongside the boat on the old towpaths are perfect parallel activities for exploring a countryside shaded by plane trees and dotted with quaint towns. Start at Port Cassafieres on a Saturday (all rentals are Saturday to Saturday) and pass through several locks and Colombiers. On the final day, return the boat at Castelnaudary, about 58 miles (100 kilometers) down the way. Most boats are equipped with hot showers, toilets, and refrigerators.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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