The Canal du Midi was constructed by Pierre-Paul Riquet between 1667 and 1681 (under the reign of Louis XIV) with the help of about 12,000 workers. Riquet designed it in such a way that it blended in with its surroundings and managed to turn his technical achievement into a work of art. It paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. It is a 360km long canal in the South of France (called Le Midi) full of navigable waterways and 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges and tunnels). The canal connects the Garonne River to the Etang de Thau on the Mediterannean Sea. The canal runs from Toulouse, through Carcassonne and Béziers and down to the Mediterranean port of Sète.
It was initially constructed to enable the transport of goods for the French Navy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to the Canal du Midi, the boats avoided the long sea voyage around hostile Spain, Barbary pirates and a trip that in the 17th century required a full month of sailing.
The canal was mainly used by small sailing barges with easily lowered masts but by the middle of the 18th century horse towing had taken over and steam tugs arrived in 1834. By 1838 there were around 270 vessels on the canal and passenger and packet boats continued a good trade until the coming of the railways in 1857. Commercial traffic continued until 1980 when it began to decline rapidly until its closure in 1989. It is now almost exclusively used by pleasure boats. In 1996 the Canal du Midi was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
There are some stunning properties available along the Canal du Midi especially in the beautiful towns of Toulouse, Carcassonne, Béziers and Sète.
This cosmopolitan and enthusiastic Ville Rose (distinctive for its brick architecture) is an absolute must for anyone wanting to explore France. It mixes heritage, lifestyle, cultural events and festival pleasures. Toulouse is just as lively by night as by day. It has one of the most intensely cultural calendars in France, including classical concerts, lyrical art, jazz, variety and electro-acoustic music. It is the unofficial capital of Occitan culture. The city’s gastronomic specialities include the Saucisse de Toulouse and Cassoulet (slow cooked bean stew). If you are looking to buy a property in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, there are many properties to choose from LINK
This medieval fortified town in the Aude department of France is divided into two parts: the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the Ville basse. A fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands since the pre-Roman period. The old part of the town comprises of a gothic cathedral, drawbridges, 52 towers, ramparts and many small streets whereas the lower city is more modern. The city has a very unique atmosphere and is a very popular place to live. If you are looking to buy a property in the area of Carcassonne, there are many properties to choose in this area: properties near Carcassonne
Béziers is a town with a rich historical past, it was already a fully functioning and vibrant city when the Romans arrived in 35BC. The town has since then preserved its Roman feel. It is well known for its magnificent town centre, one of the largest in France. The landscape around Béziers is dominated by vineyards, providing the backbone to the city’s economy. Its location (near to the beach and the mountains) is a popular reason why people live there. If you are looking to buy a property in or around Béziers, there are many properties choose in this area: properties near Beziers
This popular Mediterranean seaside resort is home to 12km of fine sandy beaches. It is the largest fishing port on the Mediterranean and is notorious for its fish restaurants. Sète is home to many museums and the Théatre Molière. It is also particularly well known for its water jousting taking place every year during the summer months. The town’s restaurants, canals, streets, bridges, fishing boats and the sweet scent of the garrigue (Mediterranean scrubland) and sea air all add to its charm. If you are looking to buy a property in or around Sète, there are many properties to choose in this area: properties near Sete