Donneville à l'automne - © Alexandre Menard

The best time of year to plan your trip to the Canal du Midi

You can explore the Canal du Midi in any season. But if you are planning a visit over several days, some times of year are better than others for exploring this waterway and its iconic sights.

Whether you choose to explore by boat or by bike, here are some top tips when planning your trip to the Canal du Midi.

Visiting the Canal du Midi by boat

Times of year when sailing is possible

You may already be aware, but it is not possible to sail on the Canal du Midi all year round. From November to March, sailing is not authorised. 

This winter closure period allows VNF to carry out any necessary maintenance work and to repair engineering structures. You can however make a request to sail during this period by contacting VNF. 

To find out more about the periods of closure, go to the following page: 

All the info you need for sailing

Cruises from April to October

That means that cruises and boat trips along the Canal du Midi are possible from April to October, this is the peak season.

Summer, the busiest season

The summer, and July and August in particular, is when you can expect the Canal du Midi and the surrounding area to be the busiest. Recreational boaters and tourists come from near and far to enjoy a boat trip here and explore the beautiful towns and villages alongside the Canal du Midi.

This is a great time to come but it is important to organise your visit before you arrive. You'll also need to pay special attention to the sailing regulations, bearing in mind that there will be a lot of boats on the water.

Spring or late summer, without the crowds

If you want to make the most of your time here, come in spring or at the end of the summer and you'll be able to explore the Canal du Midi and surrounding area without the crowds.

You'll also have more choice in terms of boats to hire, it will be easier to sail along the Canal du Midi and tourist attractions will be quieter and so more enjoyable at this time of year. On top of that, you'll appreciate the milder temperatures, for a very pleasant experience guaranteed.

When is the best time of year to explore the Canal du Midi by bike?

Choose to come in spring or at the end of the summer

The best time to explore the Canal du Midi by bike or by boat is either spring or late summer.

In summer, there are more cyclists riding along the Canal du Midi, either alone, as a family or with friends. But that is not the only reason!

The route is partly shaded, but it is still better to avoid summer and the extreme temperatures. The milder temperatures in spring and late summer make this experience a much more pleasurable one, whatever your age.

Be well prepared for your ride along the Canal du Midi

A well prepared bike ride is a successful one! Before setting off, make sure you check your equipment and your route

All our recommendations to prepare for your bike ride