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Using The Canal du Midi

by johnstratton Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 2:19 AM

Planning to stay in Carcassonne but wish to visit Toulouse for a couple of days. Anyone know if one can get a canal boat from Carcassonne to Toulouse & back like a taxi service rather than train or drive the journey? Thanks. JS

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13 Answers
  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by Jerelis Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    Nice question to be honest! :)

    When I was in Carcassonne (summer of 2011) I saw a folder the company FFP Travels. It stated: "Hire of boats on Canal du Midi, starting from Toulouse. Boats for cruise for 2 to 8 persons ... Choose the boat you need in a wide confort range."

    I have no personal experience with this company, but knew about it by the folder I saw. Their comapny website is: http://www.france-passion-plaisance.fr/

    I hope it is of help!

    Enjoy your travels,

    Jeroen

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  • zuriga's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by zuriga Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    I wish I could answer your question, but I think some of this would depend on how much time you want to spend going to Toulouse. We had a car during our trip to the Languedoc last summer, but we made several stops at towns along the Canal. It seemed to me the boats travel very slowly and would take quite awhile to make the trip, unless there is one that does more of a taxi service.

    We ventured into Toulouse before flying back to the UK and were very glad we did. It's a very lively town and has quite a few interesting museums. Personally, I'd just drive the few hours and give yourself more time in both the Carcassonne and Toulouse areas. If you have any questions about that part of France, feel free to ask.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by gwened Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Absolutely wonderful area, Toulouse to Carcassonne and yes there are boats on the canal du midi. Either drive or boat is nice, done both, with family originally from the area.

    You can even rent your own boat for doing the trip! no license require.

    castelnautique.com/eng/itine...

    for cruising you can contact them

    canal-du-midi.org/fr/navigat...

    These are the ones I know that do the run, there might be others, contact the tourist office and they will tell you in English at email

    infos@toulouse-tourisme.com

     

    Hope it helps

     

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  • johnstratton's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by johnstratton Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Thanks ever so much folks. That has been really helpful. We've had A chat and have decided to motor and cruise since both Seem to be recommended. Will explore the web sites offered Which are truly appreciated. Cheers. JM

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by gwened Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    enjoy the Cathar country ::)

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by Beausoleil Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    The boat trip is VERY slow. If you're going to be in Carcassonne, you might consider taking the train from Carcassonne into Toulouse. There are good connections and you go from city center to city center quickly and get to see the countryside between without the hassle of driving or having to find parking. If you do decide to do the boat trip, you might want to go from Castelnaudary rather than Carcassonne just to save time, but we've done canal boat trips and they are lovely but very slow. To me the boat trip is something to enjoy just as a boat trip. A trip to Toulouse deserves a full day since it's a vibrant city with a lot to see and do.

    Enjoy a fantastic part of France.

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  • pedroswift's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by pedroswift Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    I very much doubt it. The call upon such a service would probably not be great. Other posters have mention the slow speed of boats on canals. More than likely a dinner or lunch cruise is available returning to the point of departure. Typical hire boats ( for which links have been given) involve a week's hire. happy driving & cruising if you do one

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  • wandering360's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by wandering360 Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Although the banks of the canal are very scenic, the others are correct in that the "barge" style boats are extremely slow. They operate at just slightly faster than walking pace... and then there are ~38 locks between Toulouse and Carcassonne. So you can do the math to see how long it would take.        If you really want to see the canal, it's better by bike. The western half (~50km) between roughly between Toulouse and Port Lauragais is like cycling through a park (on a  paved cycling path lined with shady trees) and can be done in a day. After that, you might encounter some muddy/dirt paths (before Castelnaudary). So an option would be to walk/cycle the part near Toulouse as a day trip. (There is a bike rental near the Toulouse train station)

    (This forum is buggy. Put in a new paragraph and everything after gets double-spaced.)

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by Beausoleil Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Part of the reason it is so slow is a very strict speed limit on the canal. Backwash was eroding the banks so they severely limited speed.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by gwened Online Now Feb 19, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    of course, it is a protected canal speed and ecologist all have restrictions on it, it is a marvel of our time. slow yes,that is the beauty of river boating, why race thru it. If you want a faster mode then use the car, best way to get around these cathar towns I know well with family all over from Toulouse to Gaillac. And as far as rental boat, you can do for the weekend too so if the trip from toulouse to carcassonne can take your time this is it. IF want to wander to other areas then the rental boat is not, you need to use a cruise down the canal. And there is always the car.

    Enjoy the region at its best.

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  • johnstratton's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by johnstratton Online Now Feb 22, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Thanks everyone. Guerss we'll take the car & go slow.

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  • pedroswift's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by pedroswift Online Now Feb 22, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Car is good decision given the short time you have in the region. If you are ever tempted to hire a boat, pick anywhere except the Midi Canal. With the car, you can see some of the features of the Midi Canal without the risks.eg The chain of stepped locks at Beziers - Ecluses de Fonséranes is the third “most viewed” tourist sites in the region after the Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard and Carcassonne walled city. I’m sure that after witnessing the antics of inept hire boat drivers at these locks and others you may visit on the Midi, you will conclude that a decision to drive was a very good one indeed.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Using The Canal du Midi

    by gwened Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    of course the car is king, its always my first choice anywhere. Coming from boat to taxi to hire a car, you made a full circle. Now you will be in heavens with the car. and if want to go slow, dont take the autoroutes or A roads there like the A61 ,instead take the D department roads there, like the D16 that becomes the D813 and then the D6113 for a heck of a lot better slow scenic ride thru beautiful cathar country. hope it helps

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