7 Reasons You Need to Discover Cruising Along France’s Canal Du Midi
France is a land of indescribable beauty that inspires artists, seduces foodies and enchants romantics. From lavender-covered fields and aromatic vineyards to quaint villages and fortified cities, France celebrates diversity that appeals to world travellers around the globe. However, those looking for an authentic exploration of this dreamy country can experience it from a slightly different, more exciting perspective. Cruising along the 300-year-old Canal du Midi is an experience like no other that will take you on a meandering path through the most beautiful regions of southern France. Still not convinced that this is the perfect way to travel through France? Here are top seven reasons that will make the Canal du Midi the next stop on your travel list.
1. Picture-Perfect Countryside
Cruising along the Canal du Midi will reveal to you all the beauties of the surrounding inspiring countryside. Stretching between the Languedoc-Roussillon and the Midi-Pyrénées, one of the most beautiful landscapes in France, this canal will enchant any nature-lover. From green valleys dotted with sunflowers to charming villages that look as if time stopped there, this region resembles an artist’s painting. The soothing flow of greenish waters fills the air with a sense of tranquillity, while the canal itself is lined with Plane, Umbrella Pine and Cypress trees bathed in flickering sunlight.
2. Multiple Destinations in One Journey
Instead of spending the entire time in a single place, by going on a barge cruise along the Canal du Midi, you’ll be able to explore multiple destinations, including charming villages and medieval castles. The Languedoc region is home to stunning castles and historical ruins that will take you back in time. The citadel of Carcassonne is one of the landmarks of the region, as well as one of the most popular attractions in France. The imposing architecture of this medieval city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other destinations include the charming villages of Pézenas, Capestang, Narbonne, Marseillan and Minerve, all unique in their own ways.
3. A Cyclers’ Haven
While cruising along the mesmerising Canal du Midi, you’ll also have an opportunity to explore the region by cycling. Typically, boats come with bicycles on board, so whenever you feel like it, you can just hop on yours and start following the dreamy routes that will take you to unexpected stops. Since some of the villages, such as Pexiora and Villesèquelande, are nestled further inland, this is a perfect way to reach them. Cycling through this beautiful region is charming even without a specific destination in mind.
4. Flexible Exploration
There’s no need to plan your itinerary in detail when cruising the Canal du Midi. You can just unwind and let the canal take you. There will be times when you’ll just want to enjoy the slow ride and the sound of nature. On other occasions, you’ll feel like going for a stroll or a bike ride. The best thing is that you can do it all whenever you want to. Cruising along this canal will provide you with a lot of freedom and flexibility to have a spontaneous trip through the South of France.
5. The Architecture and Engineering
The Canal du Midi is embellished by stunning bridges, impressive locks and beautiful tunnels that add to its unique charm. The eight locks of Fonserannes at Beziers, also known as the Nine Ecluse, and the bridge that links Cacor to Moissac are some of the most notable examples that will impress you regardless of whether you’re an architecture aficionado or not. Furthermore, not only will you be able to see these architectural sights, but you’ll also be part of them since you’ll be on a lovely barge.
6. Boating Experience
The very fact that you’ll be exploring France by boat is a perk in itself. This will provide you with a truly authentic experience that will be filled with excitement, as well as tranquillity. When it comes to different Canal du Midi boat hire options, you’ll be able to choose between large and luxurious hotel barges and smaller, more intimate ones. No matter which one you choose, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the Canal du Midi in a peaceful atmosphere on a barge where a friendly crew will make sure that you have everything you need.
7. Delicious Food and Rich Wine
Barge cruising means several things – fresh produce from local markets, gastronomic tours, regional specialties, charming vineyards, distillery visits and France’s finest wines. Apart from extraordinary adventures, cruising along the Canal du Midi will leave you with a memorable gastronomic experience that no foodie can resist to. The wines from this region, especially from the vineyards of the village Paraza, are some of the best ones in the southern France. You won’t even have to leave your boat to have a delicious meal – a feast, prepared by a chef, awaits you on board.
The Canal du Midi will provide you with an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful regions of the southern France, leaving you with diverse, thrilling and memorable experiences.
About The Author: Marie Nieves, student of economics who loves unusual trips and have a plan to travel the whole world. She has always loved to travel, and she loves to talk about her experiences. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and loves to surf the Internet. An avid lover of photography and regular author on High Style Life. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.