Boating Holidays Masthead
Boating Holidays Masthead

Canal du Midi Boat Hire

Linking the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, the sunny Canal du Midi is one of the oldest man-made waterways in Europe. A World Heritage Site, the Canal du Midi has unusual oval locks and beautiful bridges and aqueducts.

With 7 boat bases on the Canal du Midi we offer a huge variety of one-way and out-and-back routes along the canal on over 60 different boat types.

Canal Du Midi Area Map

East of Toulouse is our Penichette boat base at Negra. The town was the first stop of the Mail Boat which ran from Toulouse to Agde in the 19th century. Going south east, the old port of Castelnaudary is noted for its fine buildings and as the home of 'cassoulet' - a local stew made from meat and beans. A large fleet is based at our cruiser boat base here.

Europe's largest and best preserved medieval fortress is at nearby Carcassonne. Its medieval towers and walled city, a romantic World Heritage site, can be explored from the convenient town centre canal basin.

Canal du Midi – a superb cruising location

From our penichette base at Argens, dominated by a 14th century chateau, the Canal du Midi winds past vineyards. Shaded by plane trees you journey along the canal through villages such as pretty Le Somail, the start of a long lock-free section.

Perhaps divert onto the Canal de la Robine to the old Roman city of Narbonne. The canal passes under the Merchant's Bridge, one of the few left in France lined with houses and shops. You can also start your cruise from our boat base at Narbonne.

The Canal du Midi continues to the interesting village of Capestang and the world’s oldest canal tunnel at Malpas. Then descend the amazing flight of seven locks at Fonserannes, to the west of Beziers.

The busy port-town of Béziers, birthplace of Pierre-Paul Riquet, founder of the Canal du Midi, has stunning views from the hilltop cathedral of St Nazaire. East of Beziers reach our boat base at Port Cassafieres on the edge of the Camargue.

Memories of the fabulous tree-lined Canal du Midi cruise will remain with you forever.

Diary of a week on the Canal du Midi

Area Highlights

Highlights of the Canal Du Midi Region

  • Sunshine from March to October
  • The ancient walled town of Carcassonne
  • The roman town of Narbonne
  • Pretty oval locks - all fully staffed
  • Good links to motorways, low-cost airports and TGV
  • The Languedoc region - France's most productive wine growing area
  • The medieval town of Castelnaudary, famous for its cassoulet stew
  • The Fontserannes staircase locks near Beziers
Le Somail

Useful Information:

  • Locks are fully automatic, manned and free to use.
  • The Fonserannes staircase of locks can get busy. It is reccommended that you moor at the top/bottom of ther lock and walk or cycle into Beziers for sightseeing.
  • Short breaks and longer cruises are available form all the bases along the Canal Du Midi.

Customer Reviews

We took the route Negra to Lattes. A great route with changing and varied scenery incorporating boating on canals, rivers and ending at the Med. Excellent route. ES - Negra - Lattes
Great trip, I was a little apprehensive about renting a boat in France with 3 girls and my wife, but had no problems. Highly recommend the start of the trip from Argen to the lake. The canal also was not crowded and some days we would only see about 5 boats, I would highly recommend this trip on the Canal du Midi . CM - Argen - Lattes
We had a really good time, assisted by fine weather. We cruised from the base at Argens to Carcassonne and back, locks all the way but no real problems in managing. Other clients of yours who fish may like to know I can confirm there are some very large carp in the Canal du Midi. CM - Argens and back in Southern France
We had an absolutely fabulous time, loved every minute of it! We are looking to return next year, with more family and a bigger boat - great holiday! Thank you!
SH - Negra and back in Southern France
On check-in the office suggested we travel towards Toulouse instead of Carcassonne which gave us a less crowded journey with fewer boats travelling in the same direction. We appreciated the advice, as being first time travellers (a couple in our 60's), we were apprehensive about traversing the locks and would have worried had we held up the "traffic". We soon discovered that our misgivings amounted to little as our confidence grew!
JO - Castlenaudary and back in Southern France
Had a great time from Homps to Trebes - and we were extremely lucky with the weather!
NK - Homps and back in Southern France
We did a return trip from Narbonne to Trebes. We wanted to go to Carcassonne and were advised by the lady at the base to stop at Trebes and get a taxi into Carcassonne. This proved to be excellent advice and we were very grateful. We had an excellent holiday and even when the fan belt went on the boat the responce from the base was very quick and they were with us within 1/2 hour so we were hardly held up at all. Overall we were very impressed with the service, boat etc and would certainly use them again
CB - Narbonne and back in Southern France
Travelled on the Canal Du Midi from Castelnaudaray to Trebes in October and found this to be a very good time of year as the weather was OK (mostly fine with some overnight rain) and the canal was not too busy. Bram was our first overnight and it was a lovely little village. Next overnight was Carcassonne - a much larger place with lots to see and good mooring facilities (showers and washing machines). Last night at Trebes where facilities are limited but still a village worth visiting.
KG - Castelnaudary to Trebes in Southern France
The customer service I received during the booking process was excellent - thank you for your help, advice and proactive approach.
CM - Homps out and back in Southern France
Sam at Boating Holidays was fantastic, always friendly and helpful, I am booking through her again.
CP - Port Cassafieres out and back in Southern France
Show More Reviews

Suggested cruises from our bases in Canal du Midi

Canal Du Midi Boating Map

View Routes from:

Boat Holidays from Argens

From our base at Argens, the Canal du Midi winds through a typically Mediterranean landscape of vines, cypresses, and pine trees. Shaded by plane trees you journey along the canal, stopping for refreshment and regional specialities at towns and villages such as pretty Le Somail.

A diversion to Narbonne may be possible, otherwise continue to the amazing seven-lock staircase at Fontserrannes before reaching Beziers and on to the coast at Agde.


One Way Routes

Argens - Carcassonne - Castelnaudary - Negra

One Way • 1 Week • 118km • 45 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Argens - Narbonne - Sete - Frontignan - Aigues Mortes - Lattes

One Way • 10/11 Days • 202km • 39 Locks • 3 hr 30 / day

Out and Back Routes

Argens - Puichéric - Trebes - Carcassonne - Argens

Return Trip • 1 Week • 92km • 34 Locks • 3 hr 30 / day

Argens - Le Somail - Narbonne - Beziers - Argens

Return Trip • 1 Week • 151km • 40 Locks • 4 hr / day

Argens - Trebes - Carcassonne - Castelnaudary - Argens

Return Trip • 10/11 days • 134km • 66 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Argens - Narbonne - Beziers - Agde - Marseillan - Argens

Return Trip • 10/11 days • 200km • 54 Locks • 4 hr / day

Argens - Carcassonne - Castelnaudary - Toulouse - Argens

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 291km • 102 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Argens - Narbonne - Beziers - Bouzigues - Lattes - Argens

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 288km • 56 Locks • 4 hr 00 / day

Argens - Carcassonne - Castelnaudary - Negra - Argens - Beziers - Agde - Argens

Return Trip • 3 Weeks • 396km • 116 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Le Somail Bridge
Sycamore Trees on the Canal Du Midi

Boat holidays from Castelnaudary

From Castelnaudary, famous for its meat and bean cassoulet stew, pass through the Midi's famous oval locks to Europe's largest and best preserved medieval fortress at Carcassonne. See Trebes and Homps and take in the view from the 14th century chateau dominating the canal at Argens Minervois.

Scenic Le Somail leads to a long lock-free section, with the interesting village of Capestang To the west of Beziers is the remarkable engineering feat of the seven lock flight at Fonserannes. Beziers itself is worth a visit for the stunning views from the cathedral of St Nazaire on top of a hill.


One Way Routes

Castelnaudary - Port Cassafieres (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 157km • 62 Locks • 45hrs

This popular route cruises a varied section of the Canal du Midi. See our guide Diary of a week on the Canal du Midi for more information about this route.

Winding its way through the beautiful Languedoc countryside, this popular Midi cruise takes you to Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and picturesque Castelnaudry, home to the regional dish of Cassoulet. Visit Roman Narbonne, relax in Le Somail and sample magnificent local wines.

Castelnaudary - Homps (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 81km • 44 Locks • 30hrs

Venture into the heart of wine country with stops at pretty waterside villages and a visit to the atmospheric mediaeval city of Carcassonne. Enjoy cycling along the towpath in the dappled sun of the Canal du Midi.

Castelnaudary - Trebes (or vice versa)

Short Break One Way • 4 Days • 52km • 31 Locks • 18hrs

Explore medieval Carcassonne, try the local delicacy cassoulet and enjoy the small port town of Trebes.

Out and Back Routes

Castelnaudary - Carcassonne - Castelnaudary

Return Trip • 1 Week • 104km • 62 Locks • 35hrs

Enjoy lunch at a waterfront café in medieval Castelnaudary, and admire the ancient ruins and grand châteaux like islands of history amidst the lush Languedoc vineyards.

Canal Du Midi Cruiser Boat
Port Cassafieres

Boat holidays from Homps

Homps is a verdant and often sunny town. Moor here and take a walk downtown to discover the flower-lined streets and the old romanesque chapel built in the 11th century.


One Way Routes

Homps - Castelnaudary

One Way • 1 Week • 81km • 44 Locks • 30hrs

Traverse the staircase of locks at Fonsérannes and feel the coolness as you pass from the sun into the oldest canal tunnel at Malpas. Béziers, famous for its architecture, festivals and bullfights is a superb place to visit.

Homps - Port Cassafieres

One Way • 1 Week • 77km • 19 Locks • 17hrs

Your journey begins in Homps, a jewel of the Languedoc. Visit lovely Ventenac and perhaps dine at a local café. Enjoy the amazing staircase of locks at Fonserannes, and dance the night away in chic Béziers.

Homps - Le Somail - Carcassonne - Trebes

Short Break One Way • 4 Days • 53km • 27 Locks • 18hrs

Out and Back Routes

Homps - Carcassonne - Homps

Return Trip • 1 Week • 80km • 42 Locks • 23hrs

On a Canal du Midi cruise deep into Languedoc, enjoy walking amidst vineyards of plump purple grapes, exploring cool wine cellars and savouring the best vintages on the sundeck in beautiful Trèbes and Bram.

Homps - Le Somail - Homps

Short Break Return Trip • 3 Days • 40km • 12 Locks • 11hrs

Moor up in the village of Le Somailand explore the famous antique bookstore or linger at the graceful 17th-century St Marcel Bridge.

Argens
Capestang

Boat holidays from Narbonne

Once the most important city of the Roman Gaulle, Narbonne hosts many vestiges of the past and keeps them like treasures. Come here and visit the basilica Saint-Paul, the wonderful cathedral Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur, and many others. Downtown, the old winding streets are just charming.


One Way Routes

Narbonne - Carcassonne - Trebes

One Way • 1 Week • 87km • 43 Locks • 23hrs

Enjoy complete relaxation as you stop to savour picturesque Ventanac, Le Somail, Homps and Trèbes. Your Canal du Midi cruise joins the Languedoc and the Camargue, two of the most beautiful places in France.

Out and Back Routes

Narbonne - Agde - Narbonne

Return Trip • 1 Week • 148km • 36 Locks • 30hrs

Visit picturesque villages, and the historic cities of Narbonne, Beziers and Agde under the Mediterranean sunshine.

Narbonne - Castelnaudary - Narbonne

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 236km • 118 Locks • 80hrs

Cruise past rolling hills adorned with lush green vineyards and enjoy the amazing staircase of locks and marvellous aqueducts on your Canal du Midi cruise. Enjoy a glass of local wine in quaint villages like Le Somail, or spend the day exploring medieval Carcassonne.

Boat Holidays from Negra

From Toulouse, the Canal du Midi takes you through one of France's most fascinating regions to the mediterranean coast and the Camargue. The canal itself is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its 17th century construction works.

The base at Negra was the first stop of the "Mail Boat" which ran from Toulouse to Agde in the 19th century. Castelnaudary is noted for its fine buildings and as the home of 'cassoulet'. The medieval towers and walled city of Carcassonne form another World Heritage site, with a convenient town centre canal basin.


One Way Routes

Negra - Castelnaudary - Carcassonne - Argens (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 118km • 45 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Out and Back Routes

Negra - Castelnaudary - Carcassonne - Negra

Return Trip • 1 Week • 144km • 56 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

Negra - Toulouse - Montech - Negra

Return Trip • 1 Week • 152km • 40 Locks • 4 hr 00 / day

Argens Minervois
Penichette on the Canal Du Midi

Boat holidays from Port Cassafieres

Port-Cassafières is a pleasant and peaceful harbour to stop, complete with cycling paths. Its proximity to Spain gives it some interesting flourishes in cuisine, architecture and culture and as a result it is a truly cosmopolitan spot to explore.


One Way Routes

Port Cassafieres - Castelnaudary (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 157km • 62 Locks • 45hrs

Take a short walk from charming Port Cassafières and find yourself on the golden sands of the Mediterranean. Headto quiet villages and bustling Béziers, passing through the famous Fonsérannes Locks and the amazing Tunnel de Malpas.

Port Cassafieres - Beaucaire (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 128km • 3 Locks • 23hrs

Known as the 'Seaside Cruise', this leisurely cruise takes you to the beach resorts of le Grau du Roi, la Grande-Motte, and Palavas-les-Flots. Known for its superb beaches and open scenery, the Camargue is the perfect place to relax and enjoy scenery, beaches and fascinating historic towns such as Aigues-Mortes.

Port Cassafieres - Narbonne (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 192km • 35 Locks • 25hrs

Port Cassafieres - Homps (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 77km • 19 Locks • 17hrs

Leave the Mediterranean beaches behind on your way to picturesque Homps, as the Canal du Midi takes you over Roman aqueducts, through the Tunnel de Malpas and along the Fonsérannes staircase of locks.

Out and Back Routes

Port Cassafieres - Narbonne - Port Cassafieres

Return Trip • 1 Week • 128km • 46 Locks • 27hrs

Cruise the Canal du Midi to the edge of the Camargue to Roman Narbonne. It’s a journey of contrasts, inviting you to experience busy Béziers and quiet Le Somail.

Boat holidays from Trebes

Along the Canal du midi, there is a pretty and welcoming town called Trèbes. Moor here to eat downtown in one of the good restaurants, or visit the church Saint-Etienne, built in the 14th century.


One Way Routes

Trebes - Carcassonne - Narbonne (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 87km • 43 Locks • 23hrs

Trebes - Castelnaudary (or vice versa)

Short Break One Way • 4 Days • 52km • 31 Locks • 18hrs

Trebes - Homps (or vice versa)

Short Break One Way • 4 Days • 53km • 27 Locks • 18hrs

Explore the quaint villages along the Canal du Midi to Carcassonne, a magnificent walled fortress. At Trèbes, admire the superb three-arched aqueduct that carries the canal over the River Orbiel.

Out and Back Routes

Trebes - Beziers - Trebes

Return Trip • 1 Week • 180km • 54 Locks • 37hrs

Traverse the staircase of locks at Fonsérannes and feel the coolness as you pass from the sun into the oldest canal tunnel at Malpas. Béziers, famous for its architecture, festivals and bullfights is a superb place to visit.

Beziers
Cruiser Boat Hire on the Canal Du Midi

There are many possible two week cruises combining some of the above, or extending eastwards to the Camargue.

Please note that hours suggested above are approximate

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