Continuing East along the canal, fifteen more minutes driving (in a car, not a boat!)
brings you to a place hard to find - the Aiguille lock at Puicheric. The lockkeeper
sells wonderful carvings and statues, one of which adorns the entrance to Au Berg
- well worth a quick stop.
Then on to Homps, another sizeable port with plenty of dining opportunities and with
its Capitainerie where you can book a two hour canal trip. At the back of the Capitainerie
is a first rate wine dealer selling many of the best Minervois wines at cellar door
After Homps the main road (D5) to Beziers leaves the canal and you drive through
some of the lower slopes of Minervois and come across some pleasant villages.
Well worth a detour is Le Somail, a lovely place to spend a quiet evening by the
canal enjoying good food in either of the canal side restaurants. One (L’O de la
Bouche?) also has occasional musical evenings. Delightful setting, basic but tasty
Beziers and its step of nine locks is also well worth a visit. Nice old town too!
The Canal du Midi is the reason why we bought Au Berg in this region. Its charms
were first made apparent when we spent our honeymoon on an English narrow boat at
5 km/h. The canal induces a pace of life that is so different from the normal rush
- it is a truly relaxing and charming place to be.
The story and history (Other links on the Links page) of the canal are well documented
and we will not repeat it here. However, within easy reach of Palaja are some lovely
places to visit, walk and eat.
The Canal (since a slight re-route in the 19th century) goes through the centre of
Carcassone, right by the railway station. There are some nice restaurants near the
canal and you can walk away from the town along the bank (Easterly direction is much
The first port going east from Carcassonne is Trebes that has a few shops and dozens
of pleasure boats. From the village walk along the right bank of the canal to the
lovely triple lock, an old mill and on the north bank a charming restaurant Le Moulin
Going west from Carcassonne, the canal is very close to the autoroute for some miles
and so rather uninteresting. However, the towns of Bram and Castelnaudary are well
worth a visit before the canal reaches Toulouse and opens into the River Garonne
for its long journey to Bordeaux and the Atlantic Ocean.
Toulouse is a large and interesting city, of special interest to those fascinated
by the aerosapce industry. You must visit the Cite de l’espace.
That was a very quick tour of the canal. Please take your time and enjoy it.