August 15, 2008

Canal Midi by Castelnaudary

The small village Castelnaudary in Languedoc - South of France is perfect for a boat trip along the beatiful Canal Midi.
The Canal du Midi or Canal des Deux Mers (Occitan: Canal de las Doas Mars / Canal del Miègjorn) is a 240 km long canal in the south of France, le Midi. The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Mediterranean port of Sète (which was founded to serve as the eastern terminus of the Canal.)The original purpose of the Canal du Midi was to be a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, avoiding the long sea voyage around hostile Spain, Barbary pirates, and a trip that in the 17th century required a full month of sailing. The strategic value of this is obvious and it had been discussed for centuries, in particular when King Francis I brought Leonardo da Vinci to France in 1516 and commissioned a survey of a route from the Garonne at Toulouse to the Aude at Carcassonne.

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