The Canal du Midi

The canal linking Toulouse to the Mediterranean is a treasure to be explored on foot, by bike or on a boat, to the soothing rhythms of the water. In the shade of the tall plane trees, along the lush green banks, you can really relax…

A canal from Toulouse to Sète

In the past, the canal was used to transport cargo, providing a navigable route from Toulouse to Sète. Goods could thus be transported from the Atlantic coast via the Garonne, then later the Canal Latéral à la Garonne, which was safer for navigation, to Toulouse and then via the Canal du Midi to the Mediterranean coast via the Etang de Thau.

Pierre-Paul Riquet, engineer of the Canal du Midi

In 1666, Louis XIV gave the go-ahead for work on the “Canal Royal du Languedoc”, designed and directed by Pierre-Paul Riquet.

The project was a masterpiece of engineering, with all the mechanisms needed to transport water from the Montagne Noire and the numerous locks to compensate for differences in water levels and ensure the passage of boats.

Pierre-Paul died in 1680, and did not see the completion of the canal, which was opened to navigation 2 years later, in 1682.
He is now buried in a crypt in Saint-Etienne Cathedral.

The Canal du Midi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Les Ponts Jumeaux (Twin Bridges)

Toulouse actually has 3 canals: the Canal du Midi, the Canal de Brienne, which links the Garonne to the Canal du Midi, and the Canal Latéral, which links Toulouse to Castets and Castillon near Bordeaux.

The 3 canals are connected by the Port de l’Embouchure and are spanned by the “Ponts Jumeaux”. This set of bridges is made up of one to the north for the Canal Latéral and twin bridges for the Canal de Brienne and the Canal du Midi. The space between these two bridges is adorned with a huge bas-relief created in Carrara marble by François Lucas between 1773 and 1775.

It depicts allegories (the Canal du Midi, the Garonne, etc.) celebrating the States of Languedoc, which contributed to the modernisation of the city by ordering the excavation of the Canal de Brienne.