The Canal du Midi by boat Follow the king of river tourism

Le Canal du Midi

Le Canal du Midi, Eric Brendle / ADT Hérault

On a boat on the Canal du Midi, you can enjoy some exceptional experiences alongside the old towpaths, the flower-bedecked canal locks and the welcoming marinas. The Canal du Midi is the king of river tourism in Europe. Many people come from far away, from South Africa or New Zealand, to make the journey along this prestigious structure that was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1996.


Canal du Midi en bateau, carto

Canal du Midi en bateau, carto

Rent a boat with no Licence required

Where to rent, duration

A cruise along the Canal du Midi is a dream. You can make it come true when you rent a river boat, with no licence needed. No prior experience or knowledge necessary. You can take a boat along the Canal du Midi from late March to early November.

Le Boat, Nicols, Locaboat Holidays...: the main boat rental companies are in Port-Lauragais, Negra, Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, Argens, Lattes and in the port of Le Somail.

Cruises are on offer for 1 week, but also for 1 weekend, 1 mini week, and even 2 weeks with the boat being returned to the starting point.

Bateau à l'écluse de Negra

Bateau à l'écluse de Negra, G.DESCHAMPS

Did you know?

The Canal du Midi was designed in the 17th century by Pierre-Paul Riquet. It was inaugurated in 1681, and runs from Toulouse to Sète on the Mediterranean Sea. It is 250 km long.

Will you be able to steer the boat?

Yes, of course!

Before weighing anchor, the rental company staff will show you how the boat works and how to steer and moor the boat.

Going through the canal locks is easy and without danger: you just need to follow a few simple rules. Your boat goes at an average speed of 6 km/h. You can take a break where you want, whenever you want. You just need to take bikes with you if you want to enjoy a ride on land.

Ecluse d'Aigues-Vives

Ecluse d'Aigues-Vives, D.Viet / CRT Occitanie

Useful information

River boats are equipped for maximum comfort. The range is wide enough for you to choose the boat to suit you best (size, number of cabins, etc.).

Did you know?

In Toulouse, the Canal du Midi joins up with the Garonne Canal. Together they form the Two Seas Canal. This means you can go by boat all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and take a stop at Montech, Castelsarrasin, Moissac, etc.

South of France landscapes and charming villages

Your setting on the Canal du Midi

You can enjoy Mediterranean atmospheres in Haute-Garonne, Aude and Hérault. Colourful hills covered with sunflowers and rapeseed, cypress trees and stone pines, manor houses and Gothic spires are the setting for the green way alongside the Canal du Midi.

Most of the small towns are well worth visiting: Villefranche-de-Lauragais, a fortified town dating from the 13th century, Castelnaudary, the home of Cassoulet, as well as all the villages built with orange brick or golden stone that give the Toulouse and Narbonne areas their charm.

Le hameau du Somail

Le hameau du Somail, G.DESCHAMPS

Ecluses de Fonséranes

Ecluses de Fonséranes, Eric Brendle / ADT Hérault

Canal Architecture

Internationally unique!

You can see the Seuil de Naurouze the highest point of the Canal (189 m). You'll enjoy a break in the vast Castelnaudary basin, encircled by open-air cafés. You'll be delighted by the port of Le Somail where the postal boats would stop off. You will be amazed by the Malpas tunnel, and the gigantic steps formed by the 9 Fonseranes canal locks in Béziers.

The Canal du Midi has 63 locks. Going through the locks is always an exciting experience. The lock keepers are on hand to help, even though most of the canal locks are now automatic.

Don't miss

At the port of Le Somail in Aude, the welcoming "Maison du Somail" presents an interactive history showing life on the region's canals. This is also a tourist information office for the Greater Narbonne area


The Fonseranes canal locks

The most spectacular structure on the Canal du Midi. At the foot of Béziers, the Fonseranes canal locks were originally made up of 9 locks: this was the "Octuple", a series of 8 staircase basins. Thanks to the locks, the boats can go up a level of 21.5 metres in just 300 metres. Video 1:29 © Béziers Mediterranean Tourist Office.

Boat rental and trips on the Canal du Midi

Fancy a short or long cruise on the Canal du Midi? Find the list, for the Occitanie region, of rental of houseboats without a license, but also of sightseeing boats.

57 results

How to get there

  • By car: Occitania has a large number of motorways (A9, A20, A61, A75, etc.).
  • By plane: the region has several airports, including the international airports of Toulouse, Montpellier and Lourdes.
  • By train: the region is accessible from all the major cities of France and the European capitals..