We all know of the popular destinations to sail and explore in France, but what about inland waters? The Canal du Midi has become one of the most popular destinations in France over the past few years. Why? You get to explore some of the most interesting villages, while fully taking in the local cuisine and historical architecture. To give you a little insight and inspiration, we have prepared a short itinerary for you to stroll along the Canal du Midi, a 7-day river cruise from Carcassonne to Homps.
There are a few rules to keep in mind when sailing on the Canal du Midi. Keep in mind that the maximum navigation speed is 8 km/h and drops to 3 km/h when approaching structures and other sailors. The locks operate from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, then from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm or even 7:00 pm depending on the period you are leaving. Another interesting point of the Canal is that a license is not needed to rent a canal boat.
A historical, gastronomic and wine-growing destination, sailing on the Canal du Midi combines peaceful navigation and discovery of the heritage of the south-west. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, this Canal is lined with ancient monuments and hidden villages with thousands of secrets. Spend your week discovering culinary and historical landmarks through 6 beautiful villages in the South of France, from Carcassonne to Homps.
Day 1 : Check in and visit Carcassonne
What’s the point of departing from Carcassonne without visiting Carcassonne? Before starting your cruise, plunge into the medieval world of the famous City of Carcassonne. The city and the Canal, both listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, make Carcassonne an unmissable destination.
Numerous local restaurants explore the depths of local cuisine, so be sure to treat yourself while enjoying the atmosphere of the town. Want to have fun? The Cavayère lake has many offerings for you, with its water leisure park. You will have the chance to discover the town at night, before taking checking in for your rental.
Day 2: Carcassonne → Trèbes
2h30 of navigation – 12,8km
After that first night on board your boat, it’s off for the adventure. To reach Trèbes, you’ll need a little more than 2 hours of navigation. A picturesque scenery awaits you in the old village, with its narrow streets and 13th century church, which houses the “Treasure of Trier”. Stock up on provisions in the local grocery stores and local markets.
Day 3: Trèbes → Marseillette
1h15 of navigation – 9.2km
It’s time to depart Trèbes in direction towards Marseillette. Nestled between the Domaine de la Ferrandière and the vineyards of the Minervois, this small village is renowned for its rice cultivation. In addition to the unique Tour de l’Horloge, you will find delicatessens and markets, enough to replenish your supplies for the rest of your cruise.
Day 4: Marseillette → Puicheric → Homps
3h30 of navigation – 20km
After this break in Marseillette, it is time to continue your journey towards Homps. We have planned a short stopover in Puicheric, a medieval village. Its lock, the Aiguille lock, is adorned with dozens of wood and metal sculptures that will offer you an unforgettable view. This small stopover will also allow you, if you wish, to learn paddle on the Canal thanks to the nautical leisure base of Puicheric.
Be careful not to be too late, as you have to reach Homps before the end of the day. After 2 hours and 13km, you will have to spend the night here.
Day 5: Homps → La Redorte
1h of navigation – 6.6 km
Only 1 hour of navigation is needed to get to La Redorte. This leaves you time to enjoy Homps, its vineyards and its lake. After this small hour of navigation, you will reach the charming village of La Redorte. There you will find a supermarket, a bakery, a butcher’s shop and even a pharmacy. The climax of this stopover? The “effchoir de l’Argent Double”, right next to the bridge.
Day 6: La Redorte → Trèbes
Approximately 4hrs sailing – 24km
Back to Trèbes after 4 hours of navigation, it is the occasion to get to know the city a little better. Beyond the architecture, Trèbes is known for its local products. Wine lover? Les Vignes de Bacchus, a bar located on the marina, offers a tasting of local wines, accompanied by tapas and other regional dishes. Not far from the Canal you can taste the region’s olives, local jams, and other local products. A second mouth-watering stopover!
Day 7: Trèbes → Carcassonne
3hrs sailing – 12km
For this last day of adventure, you will reach Carcassonne in only 3 hours. The time to enjoy one last time to sail on the friendly Canal du Midi. If you arrive early enough, why not take the opportunity to finish your tour of the city after returning your boat?