A waterway listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site
240 km long, the Canal du Midi linking Toulouse to Sète, was built in the 17th century. It is unique in the world, leading it to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, the Canal du Midi has two main activities: tourist navigation and transport of water for irrigation. Adge is the final stage of the Canal du Midi before the Thau lagoon and Sète. You can discover the river port, where the former “Hôtel de l’Administration du Canal” (Canal Administration Building) and the 3-gate Adge round lock can still be seen.
A departure point for a cruise
From the river port, go for an adventure along the Hérault or on the canal, by hiring a barge or small self-drive motor boat, for a peaceful excursion for all the family.
If you prefer being guided, board an organised cruise which will take you to the Thau lagoon or Béziers. You can admire the green and relaxing scenery of the Hérault…whilst enjoying a convivial meal with the taste of the Mediterranean.
Navigate on the Canal du Midi
Navigation on the Canal du Midi is surprisingly easy. With speeds limited to 6-8km/h to avoid damaging the natural banks, you do not need a boat permit. When you hire your boat, you will be shown how it works, including the basic principles of navigation: mooring, how to pass locks…
A river map of the Canal du Midi is available free of charge in the port offices, town halls and tourist offices located along the canal between Marseillan and Toulouse.
Navigation is free, but limited by the opening hours of the locks; these are open every day from the end of March to the beginning of November, except for May 1st and November 1st. Further information from Voies Navigables de France (French navigation routes).
The round lock: a technical and architectural achievement
The Agde lock is the only round lock on the Canal du Midi. Built in 1676 from volcanic rock, it extends over three different water levels, and enables boats to turn around and take three different exits: Béziers (in the direction of Toulouse), Thau lagoon (by the Hérault) or the town of Agde (via the Canalet).
The banks of the Canal du Midi by bicycle or on foot
If you prefer land-based activities, the banks of the Canal du Midi can also be followed by foot or by bike. The peaceful, shaded towpath upstream and downstream from the port of Agde, is an excellent route for an impromptu walk in the shade of the plane and cypress trees. You may come across fishermen, families with their picnics and several beautiful villages and bridges – an ideal opportunity to take a break or a short bike ride to taste local produce…
Did you know?
- 7 million cubic metres of earth and rock were moved to dig the 240 km of the Canal du Midi.
- 12,000 workmen took part in its construction.
- The Collector General, Pierre-Paul Riquet, who devoted his life and fortune for the construction of the canal, never actually saw it finished as he died several months earlier in 1680.