Rallye du canal du Midi en aviron

There is so much going on along the Canal du Midi. Here is a selection of some of the highlights throughout the year.

Events throughout the year

Les Escales du Canal,
the 1st weekend in July

This is a new summer event that takes place the 1st weekend in July.

This event is organised by VNF on behalf of the members of the Entente pour le Canal du Midi and the goal is to create an enjoyable, festive experience along the Canal du Midi route.

Local authorities along the Canal du Midi are invited to organise a community-based gourmet event to bring locals and tourists together around the Canal du Midi.  

Refreshments are available, as well as food trucks and various sorts of entertainment to make this event as enjoyable as possible, including concerts, farmer's markets, street performances, exhibitions on the theme of the Canal du Midi, etc.

CanalissimÔ Festival at the end of June-beginning of July

The CanalissimÔ festival at Portiragnes has become an unmissable event on the Canal du Midi. It takes place at Portiragnes lock on the banks of the Canal du Midi and there is an action-packed programme of entertainment. The event was created in 2009 and now includes a dozen shows each year.

This event is brought to you by the local council, the Tourist Office and Philippe Calas, cultural and tourism councillor who is passionate about the Canal du Midi and has published several books on the topic. 

The 2023 event took place from 29 June to 2 July.

Festival CanalissimÔ

Convivencia Festival in July

"From Toulouse to Montpellier, a barge transformed into a travelling stage offers musical performances along the Canal du Midi. [...] Locals, tourists and families gather on the banks in a traditional 'guinguette' atmosphere to enjoy food and drink together. [...] Current world music artists perform on the deck of the barge, with a different line-up for each stop [...]. This is a local festival, designed with the local residents, for the local residents and for people passing through to come and discover or rediscover the famous 'Canal du Midi', a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site."

The annual Convivencia festival stops at around fifteen different places along the canal route. It was created in 1997 and really embraces the Canal du Midi as a means of bringing people together and to develop the regions, from Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea.

In the run-up to this travelling festival, there are also opportunities to learn about the canal heritage, in the spring preceding this summer event. These moments of discovery are known as 'Canal Insolite' and are organised in partnership with VNF and the Occitanie region, to introduce some of the canal's little-known structures such as the dry docks or the heritage sites alongside the canal such as the Château de Ventenac (Ventenac-en-Minervois, Aude). 

The 2023 festival took place from the 1 to 25 July.

Festival Convivencia

Fund-raising initiatives to replant the Canal du Midi trees

Every year, the Mission Mécénat de Voies Navigables de France organises fund-raising events to raise money for replanting the Canal du Midi trees, such as open-air film showings, concerts, etc.

The Rallye du Canal du Midi rowing event in August

Departing from Port-Lauragais to Béziers, August 2023 marked the 40th edition of the Rallye du Canal du Midi rowing event. The Association Toulouse Pierre-Paul Riquet (ATPPR) has been organising this rowing event on the Canal du Midi since the 1980s.

Classified as a 'Randon’aviron' event by the FFA (French rowing federation), this event involves teams of 4 rowers and 1 helmsman in a yolette rowing boat and 2 cyclists to take over in turns and provide technical assistance (embarking and disembarking, etc.). The route passes through several locks where participants will need to moor their boats, using adapted chariots that are transported on each yolette.

Since 2022, there has been another event organised alongside this one, known as Enduro Canal, which is a timed long-distance race in a skiff (not hired) or a yolette. Each boat is accompanied by a cyclist so that participants can take it in turns and also get any required technical assistance. Yolettes are equipped with a chariot to pass the locks. This race is suitable for experienced rowers!

European Heritage Days in September 

Every year in September, for a weekend, the European Heritage Days are an opportunity for the public to discover some hidden treasures in superb local venues.

Canalathlon in October every 2 years

The 'Canalathlon' is a 35 km fun sporting event that combines MTB, running, cycling and canoeing both on and alongside the canal. This event has been organised since 2017 by the PETR (Territorial and Rural Balance Cluster) of the Pays du Lauragais as part of the European LEADER (Links Between Actions for the Development of the Rural Economy) programme, and is just as much a tourism initiative to discover the landscapes of the Lauragais and the local products, as an awareness campaign for responsible, sustainable use of the canal, with events on the theme of energy, and a part of the registration fees goes to VNF for replanting the canal banks.   


Cultural venues along the canal 

The Château Bonrepos-Riquet 

As the former residence of Pierre-Paul Riquet, the Château de Bonrepos-Riquet organises tours and various events all year round. Pierre-Paul Riquet built his trial basins here when he was looking to prove the feasibility of his canal project, and they can still partly be seen here.

The château portrays Riquet's life and personality, thanks to the work of the 'Groupe de Recherches Pierre-Paul Riquet : de Bonrepos au Canal du Midi', a multi-disciplinary research group that was created in 2009 and has published several publications on the topic.

Château de Bonrepos-Riquet

The Musée du Réservoir at Saint-Ferréol 

The 'Réservoir' was created in 2019 on the edge of Saint-Ferréol dam/reservoir in Revel, in the so-called engineer's house (which origianlly housed the canal management, engineers and their staff). This place of discovery offers a visitor's tour on the theme of the canal origins and its designer, Pierre-Paul Riquet.

Every year, there are talks, events and exhibitions organised here, as well as the permanent exhibition. You can also make a reservation for a sound and lights tour of the 'Galerie des Robinets' in small groups. 

The Canal du Midi photography contest

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Canal du Midi's recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a photography contest was organised in 2021. 25 winners were selected, symbolising the 25 years of the UNESCO classification!

The 25 winning photos