Home » Between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean alongside the Canal du Midi, Languedoc is on two wheels

Between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean alongside the Canal du Midi, Languedoc is on two wheels

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Between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean alongside the Canal du Midi, Languedoc is on two wheels
A historic stroll alongside the Canal du Midi

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The primary waterway, now a paradise for cyclists

The waterway shortly turned profitable as a method of communication for transporting items and passengers. It made it doable to keep away from going across the Iberian peninsula, saving 3000 kilometers of navigating the treacherous coasts of Spain and Portugal, which France hates. In 1786 with the French Revolution the Canal was nationalized. After 1815, by restoration, it was returned to the Riquets. In the second half of the nineteenth century, when the railway arrived, the canal steadily misplaced its significance, till it was deserted within the eighties of the final century. Then it’s a second life due to the tourism cycle and the pleasure of crusing on the péniches, houseboats.

Today the Canal du Midi is a paradise for cyclists. We begin in Toulouse, the capital of Languedoc (or Occitania), a fantastic, wealthy and thrilling metropolis, simply accessible by airplane from Italy with cheap direct flights. Airbus headquarters are situated right here. In the previous it was one of many strongholds of the Cathars or Albigensians, a Christian motion that opposed the temporal energy of the Church. At the top of the center ages the Cathars had been known as heretics and persecuted for management of Languedoc. In 1209 Pope Innocent III, with the slogan “Kill all of them! God will know his personal”, launched the primary campaign in opposition to the Albigensians; then the second, till this society is totally destroyed.

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A whole group

For those that do not need to carry their very own bike, it is simple to seek out bikes for hire in Toulouse, even good high quality ones. The journey is properly documented. Just observe the course of the channel. For the extra technologically superior cycle vacationers it’s doable to obtain a GPS observe optimized from the web site www.francevelotourisme.com. In about 240 flat kilometers (insignificant distinction in altitude) you attain Sète, a city on the port of Thau. The Canal du Midi ends right here. It is a physique of water that connects to the Mediterranean. A slim strip of sandy land with shining dunes separates it from the ocean. Once you have arrived in Sète, the bike pick-up service is offered by the renters themselves. There are a number of canal guides in the marketplace. Arrange the levels as you want, about three to 6 days.

Under the shade of the airplane timber

At Toulouse the Canal du Midi joins the Garonne. From there to Bordeaux the navigation continued alongside the river in a northwesterly route. From the Port de l’Embouchure, within the middle of town, take the canal, and begin to go across the chemin de halage, i.e. the towpath, the trail alongside the fence alongside the canal the place the horses pull the boats. Thousands of airplane timber present cyclists with loads of shade through the journey to Carcassonne. For nearly twenty years the magic of this place has been disrupted by a parasite that prompted an epidemic among the many airplane timber. Many timber had been minimize down, particularly from Carcassonne onwards. Thousands of them have additionally been replanted with excessive care. But it will likely be years earlier than the state of the nation returns to what it was.

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Carcassonne, Le Somail, Bèziers: crown jewels

There are many villages alongside the Canal, some very stunning, the place you’ll be able to cease to relaxation, eat and sleep. After about forty kilometers from Toulouse, the watershed is situated in Narouze. Immediately after the big synthetic port of Castelnaudary, the primary port of the Canal. Then Carcassone, a fantastic medieval metropolis surrounded by a double wall, one other Albigensian fortress. At the top of the nineteenth century, the fort of Carcassone turned the topic of a controversial restoration carried out by the star architect of the time, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who was later criticized for his extreme considering within the restoration intervention. the citadel is a sort of Medieval Disneyland. Carcassonne, now a UNESCO web site, remains to be value a go to.

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