An exceptional heritage

“The concern over architectural aesthetics and landscapes, which led its designer, Pierre-Paul Riquet, not only to succeeding in a technical achievement, but also creating a work of art.” UNESCO

An example of exceptional natural and architectural heritage, the canal du Midi is home to many treasures from three centuries of history. 

Since the era of Louis XIV, the canal du Midi has gradually emerged as a source of invaluable plant heritage. Initially agricultural land or simply grass, it was not until the 18th century that the first plantations would appear. Among them, the plane tree, with its characteristic majestic arches, really took off from 1810 onwards. 

Today, the canal du Midi is bordered by around 190,000 trees of a wide range of varieties and sizes in the form of rows and tree-lined or wooded stretches. While elm, ash, stone pine and oak can be found on the riverbanks, the plane tree remains the dominant variety, in uniform rows along 60% of the length of the canal. This plant heritage structures the ecosystem and constitutes an invaluable area of biodiversity

A source of historical heritage, the Canal du Midi is one of the oldest canals in Europe still in operation. Registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996, it is considered the greatest work of civil engineering of the 17th century. 240 kilometres long, it has no less than 350 structures, including 63 locks, 126 bridges, 55 aqueducts, 7 canal bridges, 6 dams, 1 spillway and 1 tunnel!   

Now more than ever, as a source of living heritage, the Canal du Midi welcomes millions of visitors every year from all over the world, including 50,000 tourists sailing along the waterway. 

Preserving the Canal du Midi is preserving its history for tomorrow!