We have actually constantly imagined taking a barge with the canals of the South of France. I bear in mind checking out a guidebook when I was young concerning a pair that barged their means with Europe as well as I’ve had that on my pail listing since. When we had the possibility to drive our very own houseboat on the Rideau Canal last summer season in Canada, we emphasized to place Europe on our traveling plan following. So when Le Boat asked if we intended to self-drive a watercraft as well as cruise ship the Canal du Midi this summer season, our response was a definite, yes!
Cruise the Canal du Midi Tips as well as Advice
Since we had actually currently taken 2 Le Boat cruise ships in Canada, we seemed like experienced professionals upon arrival at the Le Boat head office in Homps situated 90 mins southern of Toulouse. We whooshed with our 40-minute watercraft intro as well as established off for our 6-day cruise ship down the renowned canal.
You don’t require any type of boating experience to drive a Le Boat houseboat. When you get to the marina, a rep will certainly stroll you with the watercraft’s controls as well as reveal you just how to drive it. There are limiters on the rate so you can just travel at an optimum of 10km per hr as well as there are lots of bumpers on the watercraft to maintain you from collapsing right into the canal wall surfaces.
Transfer from Toulouse to Homps
Le Boat’s Canal du Midi head offices lie in Homps which is a 90-minute drive from the flight terminal. Le Boat sets up transfers as well as flight terminal pick-ups to take you from Toulouse to Homps, as well as they do so in vogue.
My bro as well as sister-in-law fulfilled us for this journey, so after investing 2 days in Toulouse, we returned to the flight terminal to satisfy them as well as our drive to take the transfer to our departure factor.
Homps is the jumping-off place for Le Boat Vacations along the canal as well as it is right here that we suggest investing at the very least a day to obtain every little thing in order for your cruise ship. There are lots of dining establishments along the canal as well as there are numerous resorts as well as house leasings. Homps has actually been satisfying Canal du Midi barges for several years as well as is the ideal area for eating, buying materials as well as relaxing.
Taking our exclusive transfer from the Toulouse flight terminal, we got to the gorgeous Jardin d’Homps BnB in the town simply a brief stroll from the Canal du Midi. This beautiful residential or commercial property is embeded in a silent tree-covered yard with a pool, balcony, as well as tasty morning meal.
It was after that off to our opening night of eating on this historical river at En Bonne Compagnie. This beautiful pub had an amazing ambience with exceptional solution as well as food. What a means to start our trip. We might have invested greater than a day right here kicking back in this silent community, As one local from England that acquired residential or commercial property right here claimed, “It’s like Tuscany without the crowds.” They began a canal excursion years previously as well as liked it a lot, that they relocated right here! But alas, we just had someday prior to our watercraft trip started.
Preparing for a Canal du Midi Cruise
There is a supermarket in the area where you can stockpile on food as well as beverages. Our guesthouse proprietor cautioned us that there weren’t a great deal of choices for food in the coming days, so we ought to obtain every little thing we require currently.
The BnB proprietor was kind adequate to take our travel luggage as well as materials to the Le Boat check-in workplace, so we discovered a good area in the color to wait to be signed in as well as ultimately hop on our means.
One of one of the most essential items of recommendations I can offer you for purchasing is to acquire lots of water. The southern of France can see intolerable warm in the summer season, as well as throughout our journey, the temperature levels climbed to 42 levels Celcius. (107 F). We couldn’t consume alcohol adequate water to remain hydrated. Luckily, our Vision 3 watercraft had a full-size fridge, so we had lots of space to maintain points amazing.
We bought a barbecue plan which provided us a couple of necessary to start our journey. This assists with vital products like coffee, milk, sugar, butter, bread, salt & pepper, olive oil, a couple of containers of water, juice, coke, as well as some regional red wine as well as beer. It likewise consists of treats like chips, peanuts, biscuits, as well as croissants. I suggest buying this as it will certainly obtain you with a day or more in situation you neglected anything.
Below we have actually offered some packaging vital suggestions for travelling the Canal du Midi.
Our Route on the Canal du Midi
Our path along the Canal du Midi took us from Homps to Castlenaudry.
Day one was a brief day of travelling. After monitoring in, unboxing, as well as undergoing our watercraft walk-through as well as lesson, we travelled for simply a number of hrs to get to Puicheric.
When we anchored, we were thankful for having actually gone shopping in Homps as the community was a little bit of a walk. We had 2 bikes, yet there were 4 people, as well as considering that we simply hopped on the watercraft, we determined to unwind as well as make supper on the deck. Using the bbq we made supper as well as drank red wine from the South of France as we viewed the sunlight drop.
We had a six-day travel plan to obtain from Homps to Castlenaudry which was sufficient. Our quits consisted of
We recommend investing 2 evenings in Carcassone as this is the biggest city with one of the most tourist attractions. Castlenaudrey has a great deal of services also as well as you can capture the train back to Toulouse from right here after Le Boat if you don’t intend to invest cash on the transfer.
Activities on the Canal du Midi
We had visions of quiting at wineries as well as olive groves throughout our time on the Canal yet sadly that didn’t take place. We assumed we’d be going taking in the sights as well as checking out a great deal, yet we quickly understood that the smaller sized towns along the canal, truly don’t have a great deal of taking in the sights or points to do. When intending your journey, take the quits right into factor to consider.
Besides the communities of Carcassonne as well as Castlenaudrey, there wasn’t a great deal to do. If you intend to see tourist attractions as well as have expeditions, this is not the journey for you. The tourist attraction is getting on the watercraft.
For our path, if you desire expeditions, we recommend investing 2 days in Carcassonne as well as intending from there. We couldn’t schedule red wine excursions, taking in the sights, or perhaps taxis cab from our watercraft as well as desired that we invested 2 evenings in Homps as well as 2 evenings in Carcassonne.
About the Locks as well as the Canal du Midi
If you review our Le Boat experience on the Rideau Canal in Canada, you will certainly see that travelling the canals in Canada it is extremely enjoyable as Parks Canada functions the locks. Cruising the Canal du Midi takes a great deal even more job. The Rideau Canal is far more reliable with lines inside the locks that go up as well as down with the water so you can just loophole your ropes around them from the watercraft.
The distinction is when travelling the Canal du Midi locks, someone should leave the watercraft at each lock to be there to take the ropes as well as loophole them around the cleats on top of the lock. This suggests you have to bind over the lock as well as allow that individual off prior to you can experience. This makes it a great deal much more lengthy contrasted to the Rideau Canal.
Do You Open as well as Close the Locks on the Canal du Midi?
Before taking place the Canal du Midi, we had actually listened to that we would certainly require to hand crank the locks ourselves. This was not the situation on our path in between Homps as well as Castlenaudry. For a lot of the locks, a lockkeeper exists to run the controls for you. The just point you require to do is capture the ropes on top while the captain drives in. And after that someone should go to the front as well as the rear of the watercraft to hold it constant with the ropes.
However, there was one part of the canal en route right into Castlenaudry, where the traveler needed to run the opening as well as closing of the locks. The locks are automated, so all you need to do is push the switch as well as comply with the guidelines.
An essential point to note is that on this stretch, the locks have to do with 1km apart, so it is a substantial day of undergoing locks. We discovered that, rather than having the captain quit each time to go down among us off prior to each lock, the individual conrtolling the locks rather cycled in advance to be gotten ready for the watercraft to go into.
When I saw the watercraft coming close to, I pressed the eco-friendly switch to unlock. This made the entire experience extremely reliable.
When the doors opened up, Dave drove the watercraft in and after that Jim as well as Janice threw me their ropes so I might loophole them around the cleats. I after that pressed the switch to shut the doors as well as fill up the locks. They kept the ropes to maintain the watercraft constant, as well as when the lock was filled up, the doors opened up instantly. I after that rode in advance to open up the following lock.
So our greatest pointer for this part of the journey is to have a bike aboard.
If you didn’t lease a bike from Le Boat, you will certainly either require to stroll in advance throughout that part or have the captain decline you on as well as off prior to each lock. We very advised leasing at the very least one bike. Besides, numerous of the mooring locations are found out of community or the food store are much from your watercraft, so having a bike was a substantial incentive.
At times, you’ll desire a bike to get some even more food as shops were a little bit of a walk from the watercraft. While dining establishments as well as bars lie straight or within strolling range of the anchors when in Homps, Trebs, Carcasonne, as well as Castlenaudry, there are times when you’ll be a couple of kilometres from the community. Plus, there are biking courses the whole time the Canal du Midi, so if you get involved in your dock early, you might intend to hop on the bikes to look about.
On Board Grocery Pack
As we discussed above, we very suggest buying the grocery store plan to obtain you begun on the watercraft. You will certainly require to do purchasing, yet this enables you for some additionals such as coffee, milk, butter, jam, olive oil, sugar, as well as salt as well as pepper.
It likewise consists of regional red wine, beer, lemonade, coke, water, as well as treats such as croissants, bread, biscuits, as well as chips. We discovered that we wound up utilizing every little thing consisting of the light weight aluminum foil which is excellent for food preparation on the bbq. Make certain to purchase your grocery store pack 7 days ahead of time to have it aboard when you show up.
It depends on you just how much you intend to acquire. There are lots of locations where you’ll have the ability to eat in restaurants yet at the very least for the opening night, you will certainly desire your very own food aboard. And we very suggest having morning meal, treats, lunches, as well as adequate food for a number of suppers aboard.
We acquired food for every one of our morning meals, lunch, as well as for 2 suppers. The ideal recommendations we can offer is to prepare your dishes in advance as well as make a decision just how frequently you intend to consume on the watercraft. You can’t take the food with you, so if you have a clear suggestion for every dish, you can get meats as well as cheeses, breads as well as suppers throughout of your journey.
Packing Essentials for Le Boat on the Canal du Midi
Cruising the Canal du Midi happens in the summertime in Southern France, so anticipate heat. Pack the normal summer-specific garments like shorts as well as Tees, yet one Le Boat-certain thing we cannot emphasize adequate is to load job handwear covers to man the locks. The ropes can truly destroy your hands, plus, they are frequently slimed. We made use of these handwear covers yet I assume water-proof job handwear covers would certainly be much better. See these on Amazon.
The Canal du Midi is unclean, watercrafts are enabled (in fact motivated) to discard their commodes straight right into the canal while driving. We can confirm that many individuals also disposed their black water while anchored as the odor floated right into our cabins. Since you are managing ropes that are frequently falling under the water, put on handwear covers when binding as well as doing the lines. And clean your hands frequently.
Another thing we desire we had was a sunlight umbrella. We couldn’t place our watercraft cover up due to the fact that every couple of hundred meters we needed to go under reduced bridges. Sun hats are a must. Bathing matches are not required as you cannot swim in the Canal du Midi. This umbrella resembles it would certainly have been ideal to contend the captain’s chair.
Sunglasses as well as field glasses are a great suggestion also. Le Boat in both Ireland as well as Canada provided field glasses yet these rivers get on rivers with open lakes as well as you require to discover buoys as well as pens. Binoculars are not required on the Canal du Midi considering that it is simply a straight slim canal so you don’t require them to browse, yet it behaves to be able to take a more detailed take a look at the passing landscapes.
Also, I very suggest bringing a number of parlor game or cards for nights as well as it’s a great suggestion to load mobile audio speakers for your songs.
Portable follower – I have a USB-operated follower that is portable which aided me a great deal when I was overheating. I have actually constantly experienced a Thyroid condition as well as Graves condition, so my thermostat has actually never ever been excellent. With the still warm air on the Canal du Midi, I was enduring. My mobile handheld follower aided me a great deal when the warm was as well extreme.
Choose Your Boat Wisely
Le Boat has numerous various designs of watercrafts. If your budget plan enables, we recommend scheduling the Horizon Lines or Premier watercrafts. They are the most recent as well as run the most effective. We have actually driven the Horizon fleet in Canada as well as Ireland as well as they truly are the first-rate.
On the Canal du Midi, we had a convenience watercraft Vision 3. It didn’t deal with rather in addition to the Horizon as well as you can anticipate a couple of points to fail on the older watercrafts. For instance, our a/c quit working so they needed to offer us a mobile system to utilize. And our battery passed away, so we needed to change out watercrafts component means with our journey.
Le Boat has emergency situation numbers as well as sends specialists promptly, so when something does occur they get on it quick so you don’t require to bother with being stranded. They will certainly constantly exist to assist.
For unskilled seafarers, The Horizon Line is outstanding as well as these are the watercrafts we suggest if your budget plan enables. Our Horizons 3 as well as 4 watercrafts transformed on a dollar as well as the thrusters were so effective you can quit promptly to prevent any type of accidents.
Our Vision 3 watercraft in France took a whole watercraft size to quit as well as the thrusters weren’t as effective. This watercraft took even more ability to maneuver.
This is particularly real with the winds on the Canal du Midi. We had a fair bit of experience by now, yet we saw individuals entering into locks sidewards, striking various other watercrafts, as well as being surprised while docking. With the more recent versions, this is much less most likely. So, if you don’t have a great deal of boating experience, we recommend sticking to the brand-new as well as higher-end versions.
Extremely Low Bridges on the Canal
Also beware, that there are a great deal of reduced as well as slim bridges the whole time the Canal du Midi. We reserved a huge three-bedroom watercraft as well as it really felt practically as well large. If you aren’t comfy driving with slim flows, we recommend leasing a smaller sized watercraft. Le Boat has watercraft dimensions that fit any type of convenience degree as well as they can go as little as simply having 2 guests.
Going with the reduced bridges can be an adventure, yet it likewise came to be tedious. We might never ever place our cover approximately obtain remedy for the warm sunlight, we needed to elude each time we went under a bridge so as not to strike our heads. (this can be truly major, so we were frequently advised each various other to elude when coming close to), as well as it was constantly a little bit difficult that we’d strike the sides.
About Barging the Canal du Midi
Cruising the Canal du Midi gets on many individuals’s pail listings. We appreciated it yet really felt that Canada’s Rideau Canal was much more our rate. In Canada (as well as Ireland – much more on that particular cruise ship coming quickly) we took pleasure in the large open waters as well as less locks contrasted to the consistent slim networks as well as wealth of locks on the Canal du Midi.
That claimed, my sister-in-law liked undergoing the locks as well as claimed that her preferred component was having the experience of undergoing the locks.
As the captain, Dave discovered that needing to draw over frequently to allow individuals was a little bit difficult as well as I discovered that needing to leave the watercraft numerous times a day was a little bit of a duty. I would certainly have chosen to remain on the watercraft to unwind as well as take pleasure in the landscapes. But, if you like to function as well as have a job throughout your journeys, you will certainly like the Canal du Midi.
Going on the Canal du Midi is an excellent means to discover the much more off-the-beaten-path locations of France. It takes you back in time to take a trip at a slower rate by yourself time. As someone claimed to us “The Canal du Midi is the perfect place to think more and hurry less.” I such as that.