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“Belle of the midi”
Review of Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi
Ranked #368 of 2,980 things to do in Occitanie
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A 360-km network of canals linking the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Thank you Belle du Midi cruises for a wonderful week -- Proprietors Barry and Alison Entwistle were very helpful in arranging transfers to their base at Le Somail and enjoy sharing their knowledge of the area to ensure you gain the most from your holiday. We were a party of 6 adults on the 'Rive 40' which was clean, well equipped and a joy to cruise in. Their boats give you a gateway to the food, wine and culture of this beautiful region of France.

1  Thank Stuart60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 8, 2013

My wife and i rented a 33' flying bridge canal boat from Locaboat for a 2 week cruise from Negra to Lattes on the Canal du Midi. We encountered 81 locks in 310 Km (192 miles). The trip exceeded our expectations in just about every way. the scenery was spectacular, food delicious, wine everywhere, bread as expected and a boating adventure that tested our skills. The boat was distinctive and well laid out. It was very comfortable for two and would have been OK for 4. my observations on the trip are:

1. People should be very careful who they elect to do this trip with. We ran into several groups who were experiencing problems with too many captains, too many decisions, close quarters, etc. my observation is that family units where decision making is already well defined do well (husband, wife, kids, etc). friends and in-laws have potential for problems. If traveling with friends, suggest working out captain assignments ahead of time as well as decision process – when to stop, what to see, etc.
2. The flying bridge on the Penichette was a great decision. Of all the companies we saw on the canal, we agreed that Locaboats looked the best, were the most practical and handled as well as or better than any other ones we saw.
3. It was MUCH better to go from Negra to Lattes. The reverse course I would not recommend for a number of reasons. Going up the locks is much more difficult, the scenery from Lattes gives a much poorer first impression and navigating the open waters near Meze is not for the inexperienced captain and navigator.
4. Our boat had a bow thruster. The smaller boats did not. The bow thruster made it MUCH easier to maneuver – especially in the locks.
5. We only used the bike one time –on a day when there were a lot of locks, my wife rode ahead and waited for me. Nice but not required.
6. Locaboat had great documentation for the trip and the navigation.
7. No swimming suits! I would not want to put my foot in the canal much less the rest of my body!
8. At the end of the trip, we were able to take a train from Montpellier to directly to Charles DeGualle Airport in Paris for a 2 hour layover for our flight back to the US. worked great.
9. When you pick up the boat, make sure you do a complete walk around with the technician and mark all the scratches and damage on the boat. Our Negra technician did not do this and I did not think to have it done. When we turned the boat in, there was a question about a bent hand railing that was bent when we got the boat but not documented.
10. The more people on the boat, the more confusing things were – everyone wanted to “help”. My wife and I did just fine as a team and in fact, many of the locks I could have done by myself if I wanted.
11. We purchased a supplemental book ahead of time that gave us many suggestions on what to do and see - highly recommended. and canal boat owner, “Cruising in the South of France” by Ralph Folsom (http://www.seafevergear.com/canal.html).

two thumbs way up on this one!

10  Thank Kim P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

I had planned two days cycling on the canal, with a base in Carcassonne. I rode a 70 km ride east of the city, renting a bike from the velo site near the train station. The canal isn't challenging for a cyclist, but it is scenic. Barges, plane trees, locks, flowers and some dawdling ducks were the welcome challenges. The path is a variety of surfaces, from Tarmac to gravel, to hard packed dirt to a tiny grassy bike wheel width trail. I think if you are on a self supported ride from town to town the canal would be fun, but for a loop ride not so enough change. I followed the canal west of Carcassonne for a bit the second day, but it was more on the street and through high traffic. Not a fun ride, so turned around and spent the day touring the fortress.

1  Thank travelerdhh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

We, four mature adults, have just returned from 10 days on the Canal du Midi booked through H2olidays. Our old style barge Winfred is operated by France Fluviale and was large and had two good sized "bedrooms" and plenty of space including a practical good sized kitchen. Very strongly recommend you study the layout of the prospective barges as some have very small cabins, impossibly small showers and limited storage (one Russian group offered to swap their flash looking vessel for ours!).
The staff at France Fluviale / H2olidays could not have been more helpful.
Winifred is large and it took some time to "master" the steering but she was an excellent choice.
Suggestions / recommendations:
1. Don't go during the long French holidays as you might experience long waits at the locks. We finished our trip just before the big holidays started so the weather was good and the canal relatively uncrowded.
2. You will need at least one modestly fit person to get off the barge at each lock as the procedure is one person walks ahead to check if it is okay for the barge to enter the lock; then that person has to catch the securing ropes. The vast majority of lock keepers were courteous and helpful especially if you make the effort to converse in French no matter how poor it may be. Always say "bonjour Monsieur or Madame or (often) Mademoiselle" beforehand and "merci" afterwards.
3. We have suggested to H2olidays that they try to offer a portable modem such are offered by the car rental companies, if you want easy access to the Internet. There was remarkably poor internet access at mooring locations despite the brochures stating it was!
4. Rent at least one bike so when necessary you can ride to the shops or when you want to exercise off yesterday's confit du canard.
5. If possible schedule in a couple of free days to you can wander round say Carcasonne and not feel pressured for time to reach your end location.
6. Take a thermal or some warm clothing as it can be cool on the water especially if it is windy.
Overall great and would love to repeat on another canal system. Burgundy anyone?
Leslie Falla NSW Australia

6  Thank Chez R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 3, 2013

I wish to thank the Le Boat staff at their Cape Town office (Africa region) for all their help and support when I had to change the dates of our barging trip next year. I booked our trip on the www.leboat.net website and found it very easy to use. I would recommend to everyone planning a barging trip to work through that website. Our first barging trip with Le boat was from Decise to Chatillon-sur-Loire and we look forward to our holiday knowing that the friendly and helpful Le Boat marina staff will be there to assist us. This trip will be from Montauban to Le Mas d'Agenais.
Thanks again to the Cape Town staff for your quick responses to all my emails and answering all my questions.

3  Thank SunSusie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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