March 31 – During Geri’s visit, we took a beautiful bike ride from home, along the Canal du Midi, past vineyards, to our nearby town of Trebes for lunch along the canal. Just gorgeous. I’ve added some history of the Canal du Midi’s construction at the very bottom of this post.

Below: But first, here’s what the canal looks like now, fully leafed out.

Below: me in March in front of one of the canal’s locks.

Below: Geri on the lock

Below: then, to Trebes’ “restaurant row” along the canal. Our hosts at restaurant Le Quai set up a table for us – we were the only ones outside! Now, several weeks later, the whole pier is lively – filled with open restaurants tables and customers.

Below: A lovely salade Nicoise

Below: A boat coming into one of the canal’s locks

Below: The same boat, now raised up in the lock and ready to motor through.

Our bike ride was 11km (6.8 miles) one way, from Carcassonne to Trebes.
Building work on the Canal du Midi (which, by connecting to the Canal de Garonne, links the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea) began in 1667. (How they did this back then is just amazing to me). At 240 Km (150 miles US), it’s an engineering marvel, and was deemed an UNESCO world heritage site in 1996.
From the UK’s Telegraph: “The system was a masterpiece of both hydraulic and structural engineering,” and for 15 years “took 12,000 laborers to build. The first stone was laid in 1667 and it was opened officially in 1681. Its main aim was to transport wheat, wine, and silk…Commerce dried up almost immediately in 1857 when the Bordeaux to Sete railway line was opened.”  Today it’s primarily used for short or multiple-day leisure cruises. It’s one of the oldest canals in Europe still in operation.
It’s funny – I’ve done a little research on it, and some articles say it has 91 locks, and others say it originally had 86 but now has 65.



  • Frank Price says:

    Looks so calm and peaceful along the canal. The salade Niçoise looks scrumptious

  • Ardeis says:

    That’s pretty interesting! Does the boat captain operate the lock themselves? That was a bit of an odd looking boat. Do you know if it was a tour boat, a houseboat or was barging things from point A to B? It appears as though one could take a boat all the way over to Bordeaux. Does anyone rent boats or do you ever plan to motor on the canal? The history is so much fun and really gives a sense of longevity to the places!

    • Vibeke Arentz says:

      Bonjour, Ardeis. In the case of this lock, there’s a lock master who operates the lock for the travelers. But Jeff and I have seen many a lock, including in the UK and Norway, where the boat captain (or his/her appointee 🙂 operates the lock. There were two couples on this boat, and they were bringing it from Spain to somewhere in France as a pleasure cruise. Whether they owned or rented the boat I don’t know, but it could have been either. One can rent a boat and pilot him/herself, or you can rent a boat that comes with a captain and a chef – they would do all the work for you, and you could just enjoy. One of the real thrills is having bikes on the boat, so some members of the trip can bike along the canal while the other(s) captain, and you can meet at the next lock down the way. Don’t forget shopping in the markets in the little villages along the way. An amazing relaxing way to spend a vacation!

  • David Lincoln Ross says:

    Dear Vibeke, Wonderful image back of your Canal du Midi visit, I am hungry just looking at the delicious salade Niçoise!
    Look forward to your next adventure!

    • Vibeke Arentz says:

      Thank you very much, David. We are so lucky to have such a treasure, the Canal, such a short bike ride or walk away.