Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Midi Canal by Melinda Lusmore

 Cruising the Midi Canal is high on many a bucket list but if you have five days, why not take it slowly and walk from the start of the canal at Toulouse to the medieval city of Carcassonne?

Along the way, the canal is peaceful and serene with boat traffic through the locks providing interesting distractions. Go in summertime and you will be rewarded by fields of sunflowers lining the canal.

Every now and then, the canal passes over the top of the freeway or another river and reminds us what an engineering masterpiece it is. At other times, when there is no-one else in sight, it is easy to imagine the horses plodding along the same towpath 300 years earlier pulling a barge behind them.

From Toulouse to Avignonet-Lauragais – the path is bitumen and so flat you could almost drag your suitcase along behind you. After Avignonet-Lauragais, the path is dirt with patches of gravel and the odd tree root but still exceptionally easy to walk. The other advantage that the canal offers is that it is pretty much impossible to get lost – at least not until you venture off the path in search of your accommodation for the night.

Today the 65 kilometre stretch from Toulouse to Castelnaudary forms an easy three day walk. You could stop here and catch the train back to Toulouse or on to Carcassonne. Alternatively, you could rent a boat in Castelnaudary and sail the remaining 180 kilometres to the Mediterranean Sea.

 If you continue on foot, two more days will see you comfortably into Carcassonne. If you would like a bit more information before deciding that this is the walk for you, ILoveWalking publishes a series of travel guides to help you navigate through the vast network of French walking trails and choose the one that’s right for your walking holiday.

Each e-book is filled with –

  •  Dozens of photos – to help you choose an area that sings to you 
  • All the usual details – where to sleep, where to eat, market days … 
  • All the hard to find details – bus connections, taxi phone numbers and where to buy bandaids 
  • Links to hotels, train and bus timetables and other useful information accessible from your e-reader
‘Ilovewalking France – The Midi Canal’ is currently available from Amazon and Smashwords

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