What better a way to explore the Canal du Midi, than from the water? To make the most of this exceptional heritage, beautiful scenery, to explore charming villages and taste the fascinating and varied specialities of south-west France, you can hire a boat or a small barge from one of the many boat hire companies along the Canal du Midi.
Several types of boat are available, to accommodate between 2 and 12 people.
These boats do not require a boating permit. Before you set off, the boat hire company will show you how to drive the boat. It is not particularly difficult, but remember to be careful as you are sailing along the canal. You will respect the maximum speed of 8 km/hr and sail at an average speed of 6 km/hr.
To plan your boating trip along the Canal du Midi, it is important that you are aware of the safety rules to respect, to know the basics of sailing, how to cross the locks and how to moor your boat.
Choose the boat trip that suits you! The duration of the boat trips along the Canal du Midi depends on the routes and the choice of visits along the way. You can choose a boat trip over a week, a weekend, four days... If you're not pressed for time, why not embark on a two-week cruise?
You could also opt for a return boat trip from the boat hire pontoon, or sail from one location to another, using the same boat hire company.
Some boat hire companies also have electric boats that can be hired by the hour. An ideal experience to explore the canal easily, without passing through the locks.
The main boat hire companies are in Port-Lauragais, Negra, Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, Argens, Lattes and at Port du Somail.
An organised trip on a canal barge or sightseeing boat is also a great way to explore the Canal du Midi. These cruises use boats with large capacity, some of which also offer on-board catering services.
Choose from a 1.5 hour, 2 hour or a full day cruise, departing from Sète, Béziers, Carcassonne, Castelnaudary and Toulouse.
If you are looking for a unique experience on the Canal du Midi, you could choose to stay on a hotel barge.
These barges accommodate small groups of passengers. Without having to think about sailing, you can devote all your time to admiring the scenery all around you from the water.
Depending on what you're looking for, you can choose a half-board or full-board package.
There are so many water-based activities to choose from on the Canal du Midi, and they offer an excellent alternative to explore all or a part of this unique waterway network.
Canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and rowing are just some of the options available. However, when you reach a lock, you'll need to get out of the water and carry your canoe or board along the towpath to go around the lock. These activities are not authorised inside the locks because they are too lightweight and not stable enough to withstand the moving waters inside the lock chambers.
Safety rules for water-based activities
You must remain visible, and avoid using the middle section of the navigation channel so that motorised boats can overtake you in complete safety.