Meeting with the Association Toulouse Pierre-Paul Riquet

The Voies navigables de France Patronage Program is reaffirming its links with the ATPPR (Association Toulouse Pierre-Paul Riquet), a long-term partner who works every year to support the replanting of the canal’s tree canopy.

Last August, from the 15th to the 20th, the 2022 edition of the Canal du Midi Rally took place. Organized by the ATPPR, this sporting event has been a true success since its foundation. It has even gone international, as each year participants from all over the world come to compete.

The Canal du Midi Rally: what is it?

A recap: founded in 1982 by rowing fans and volunteers and featured in the French Rowing Foundation’s excursion guide, the Canal du Midi Rally is a challenge made for experienced rowers. Over 5 days , participants cover 200km, alternating between rowing, leaving boats at the locks and putting them back in the water, and cycling. A sporting adventure that appeals to lovers of long-distance rowing and necessitates a great deal of strength.

A long-term partnership

Much more than just a sporting challenge, the Canal du Midi Rally is an event in support of Pierre-Paul Riquet’s work. To this end, each year the ATPPR donates €10 for every sign-up to the Canal du Midi replanting project.

The association has thus been a faithful supporter of the Voies navigables de France Patronage Program since 2014, helping to safeguard the historical waterways of France. A partnership celebrated at the presentation of the check, which took place on November 9, 2022 in the Toulouse offices of VNF.

This year, €780 was raised, thanks to the Canal du Midi Rally. Once again, this helped the efforts to safeguard this masterpiece, through the replanting of the tree canopy project, the pride of the Occitanie Region.



VNF’s Patronage Program is proud of its solid and consistent partnerships, which have been in place for nine years with the different groups that work today, collectively, to preserve our cultural and environmental history.

Photo credits: ATTPR / VNF

Second edition of the canal du Midi Ultra-Marathon

Surpassing limits to support cultural heritage, with the 2022 edition of the canal du Midi Ultra-Marathon! Hamim El Ouardi is all set to take on a new challenge along the canal du Midi to support the replanting project.

A solidarity race

After covering the 241 km of this exceptional feat of engineering in three stages during the first edition of this sports race, Hamim is returning to his birthplace for a new challenge: 6 km paddling, 180 km cycling and 42.195 km running, starting from the Onglous lighthouse. An exploit applauded by Voies navigables de France, which initiated the project to replant the canal du Midi.

Hamim El Ouardi is a sports coach and sports instructor for prison inmates who is driven by the desire to surpass himself. A native of Aude, he has always been attached to the canal du Midi with its strolls under the plane trees, bike rides along the banks and the life that stretches along this waterway.

It was at the beginning of the year that he embarked on the canal du Midi Ultra-Marathon, a challenge that reflects his personality and is in keeping with his values because it supports the project to replant the canal’s tree canopy. On February 25, he ran six marathons after 20 months of self-training. He rose to the challenge with flying colors. So now in 2022, this fan of the canal du Midi is embarking on a new formidable race supporting the work of Pierre-Paul Riquet.

Everyone who is physically fit is encouraged to take part and back this race by joining Hamim during this new edition of the canal du Midi Ultra-Marathon: Canalman !

Contact :

+33 (0)6 23 56 60 53

A moment of poetry at the Cale de Radoub to complete the open-air screening program

On September 17, the 6th open-air screening at the Cale de Radoub took place.

This summer, the Voies navigables de France Patronage program organized several open-air film screenings in aid of the canal du Midi replanting project. The last of these events took place on September 17, as part of the European Heritage Days, at the Cale de Radoub in Toulouse.

In this 6th event, attendees were treated to a calm night under the stars, to watch or rewatch Guillermo del Toro’s fantastic “The Shape of Water” in this unique spot usually closed to the public.

Presented in partnership with Cinéfol 31, the city of Toulouse, and CIC Sud-Ouest, the screening was a huge success, selling out and collecting €3200 for the canal du Midi replanting project.

Open-air cinemas made their comeback this summer

Every year, the Voies navigables de France Patronage program organizes events as part of the canal du Midi replanting program. This summer, open-air and solidarity cinemas made a comeback on the canal du Midi. At the gates of Toulouse on an exceptional estate, or in Cruzy in the garden of the Château de Sériège, here is a look back at two evenings dedicated to the seventh art, for the benefit of the canal du Midi.

Solidarity cinema at Le Mas des Canelles

The first open-air movie night of the season took place on July 11. For the third year in a row, the event was held at Le Mas des Canelles, in Castanet Tolosan. In partnership with Cinéfol31 and, the event was organized by the Voies navigables de France Patronage program and the Miharu Group, the site manager, which once again agreed to support the cause of defending the work of Pierre-Paul Riquet. On the agenda: a delicious meal prepared with local produce, a unique setting on the banks of the canal du Midi and an extraordinary biopic on the life of Judy Garland, “Judy”.

The event was attended by 134 people and €1,200 was raised for the canal du Midi replanting program.

Solidarity cinema at the Château de Sériège

The second movie night of the summer was held at the Château de Sériège in Cruzy, an idyllic location with a history closely linked to that of the canal du Midi. On August 11, Cécile and Barthélémy d’Andoque de Sériège opened the park of their castle to host the event. The Association Les Amis du Château de Sériège, in partnership with Voies navigables de France and, organized the event, which was a first. The program featured a tasting of the estate’s wines followed by a musical film by Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis, “Yesterday”.

On this occasion, 170 people gathered in a rustic and friendly atmosphere. €1,700 was collected for the replanting of trees on the canal du Midi.

Movie nights continue! Join us on September 17 for the last open-air cinema of the year with the screening of the film “The Shape of Water” by Guillermo del Toro, at the Cale de Radoub. This site, usually closed to the public, where boats and barges come all year round to be repaired, is one of the most unique sites in Toulouse. It is also classified as a French Historical Monument.


More information here: Open-air film screening at the Cale de Radoub – Let’s replant the canal du Midi




Photo credits: Le Mas des Canelles/Château de Sériège/Anabellemy

The canal du Midi rowing rally: “A parenthesis out of time”, from Toulouse to Béziers

The canal du Midi – an exceptional yet familiar setting dating back to the 17th century, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is where the oldest rowing race in France takes place. The ATPPR (Association Toulouse Pierre-Paul Riquet) is hosting the canal du Midi Rally from Toulouse to Béziers, from August 15 to 20, 2022.

The canal du Midi Rally was created in 1982 by a group of rowing enthusiasts and professionals. The race has been approved by the French Rowing Federation and is geared towards experienced rowers. For five days, participants cover 200 km – alternating rowing, leaving boats at the locks and putting them back in the water and cycling. This is a race for long-distance rowers, so a good level of fitness is a must.


The race has been a real success and has attracted participants from around the world for many years: New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy… each year, participants are prepared to travel from all four corners of the world to row on the canal du Midi.


As for every edition, the canal du Midi Rally contributes to the preservation of our cultural heritage. The ATPPR donates part of the money raised to replanting the trees along the canal du Midi. It’s a beautiful way to pay tribute to the work of Pierre-Paul Riquet.


To find out more, visit the ATPPR website: canal du Midi Rally | (


Film screening for charity in Lézignan-Corbières on February 25 of the documentary about the “Ultra Marathon along the canal du Midi” by Hamim El Ouardi – pushing yourself to the limits to raise the profile of social and environmental causes.

Driven by a desire to push himself to the limits in pursuit of personal and spiritual development, Hamim El Ouardi, 37, who has worked as a coach and sports instructor in prisons for over 10 years, set himself the challenge of running 241 kilometers (150 miles) along the canal du Midi. Born and raised in Lézignan-Corbières in the Aude département, Hamim has always felt strongly connected to the canal du Midi. Even as a very young child, he loved ambling in the shadow of the plane trees, cycling along the canal banks, stopping to admire the wildlife… Currently based in Avignon, he decided to take up a personal challenge by creating an Ultra Marathon that reflected his identity and values.

With support from several partners*, Hamim embarked on his adventure on September 24, determined to run over two hundred kilometers along one of the celebrated gems of the Occitanie region, from Toulouse to the Onglous Lighthouse. The athlete ran six marathons over three days, after a solo training period lasting 20 months – a feat that delighted and impressed the many admirers who came to support him.

All amateur and committed runners were invited to take part by donating €1 per kilometer, with all funds raised being donated to the “Au-Delà des frontières” association, which aims to organize sporting events for people from vulnerable backgrounds. To raise awareness about environmental issues, and more specifically, the replanting of trees along the canal du Midi, Hamim joined forces with the O2 Drône production crew, who filmed him throughout the adventure in order to put together a souvenir documentary.

On February 25 at 8:30 pm, the film produced will be screened at Le Palace cinema in Lézignan-Corbières as part of a charity event. Admission costs €5, of which €3 will be donated to the canal du Midi replanting project. The film promises to be rich in emotions, offering an insight into what it means to push yourself to the limits, as well as unique images of the canal from every angle!

Dates for your calendar: Come along and support Hamim on September 24 this year, for the second edition, which will take the form of a Triathlon (3.8 km (2.4 miles) swim in the Bassin de Thau, 180 km (112 miles) cycling and a marathon). On your marks, get set, go!

* Lézignan-Corbières Town Council, Comité Régional Handisport Occitanie, SDAM Natural, Rock Distribution, Profylex, Biocoop, O2 Drône, Descorbières, Laurent Luchesse, Made for Sport, Holistic Academy, and Running Conseil Avignon.

More information:

  • Film: “UMCM 2021”
  • Date & time: February 25, 2022, at 8:30 pm
  • Address: Le Palace Cinema – 6 Cr de la République, 11200 Lézignan-Corbières
  • Admission: €5, of which €3 will be donated to the canal du Midi replanting project
  • Information: Hamim El Ouardi – +33 (0)6 23 56 60 53

The canal du Midi, a Giving Tuesday partner in 2021!

To celebrate the 5th Giving Tuesday in France, Nailloux Outlet Village wanted to celebrate the canal du Midi replanting project. Review of a two-stage operation.

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement that was initiated in 2012. It was last held on Tuesday November 30, 2021 in France, with the aim of encouraging solidarity in all its forms. The event has become all the more important given the negative effects of the COVID crisis on society and solidarity. As a solidarity alternative to Black Friday, Giving Tuesday offers a wealth of inspiring initiatives to get involved in all areas, giving each of us the power to take civic action.

Although fairly recent, having arrived in France in 2018, this solidarity movement has gained momentum in a short period of time. Men and women, associations, organizations, businesses and communities are all contributing to #GivingTuesday. From South Africa to India, and from the United States to Europe, it is a movement that brings together more than 150 countries every year!

For the occasion, the Voies navigables de France patronage program and Nailloux Outlet Village, member of the canal du Midi Patrons Club, decided to join forces to encourage people to donate to the canal du Midi tree restoration program on Tuesday, November 30 and Saturday, December 4.

Why choose Nailloux Outlet Village as a site for Giving Tuesday?

The VNF patronage program began working with Nailloux Outlet Village in 2019, when the outlet village decided to join the canal du Midi Patrons Business Club. The village rapidly became actively involved in the cause, and hosted the “Nouveaux regards sur le canal du Midi” [A fresh look at the canal du Midi] photo exhibition – developed in 2016 to celebrate the canal’s 350th anniversary – in the same year.

In 2020, the shopping center’s exhibition area celebrated the work of Franco-Cuban artist Yoël Jimenez, with a collection of posters dedicated to the replanting project.

In the spring of 2021, the VNF patronage program launched the “Le canal en famille” app in partnership with Nailloux Outlet Village, with the aim of raising awareness among families about restoration of the canal du Midi’s green canopy and to teach them more about this regional heritage in a fun and engaging way.

Last summer, Nailloux Outlet Village hosted an exhibition of photographs of the canal du Midi taken by artist Daniel Banon entitled “A l’ombre du canal du Midi” [In the shadow of the canal du Midi]. The purpose of the exhibition was to spotlight the beauty of the canal du Midi’s green canopy, to raise awareness of the importance of recreating this emblematic landscape for future generations. The works presented were also available for sale to support the replanting program.

It was therefore only natural that Nailloux Outlet Village should be chosen for the two days of replanting awareness events organized for Giving Tuesday, as a continuation of the existing partnership.

The two days of action

Tuesday, November 30: €1 was donated to Voies navigables de France for each entry to Nailloux Outlet Village. Visitors were able to visit a canal du Midi stand where the VNF patronage program teams were present to answer questions about canker stain and the replanting program. The public was also invited to make micro donations of €3 at a kiosk set up in the outlet village over a period of several months.


Saturday, December 4: the VNF patronage program was once again present at the shopping center, offering several free activities for children and adults. Nailloux Outlet Village has welcomed various speakers, including author and illustrator Marie-Constance Mallard. Violette Mirgue, the mouse-detective created by Marie-Constance and popular among children, served as the theme for a meeting dedicated to discovering the canal du Midi.


The December 4 program of events, in detail:

  • From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Workshop for children led by Marie-Constance Mallard, author of Violette Mirgue, the little darling of the canal du Midi
  • From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Walkabout in the period clothes of important characters of the 17th century, organized by the association Historia Temporis
  • 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.: Concert by Archipels, the amateur vocal ensemble of “les éléments” from their Nougaro program, “Autour de Minuit.” The following artists were present: Claire Suhubiette, Hervé Suhubiette, Raphaël Fournié, Etienne Manchon
  • From 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Conference on the Biodiversity of the canal du Midi, hosted by Symbiosphere

A warm thank you to everyone who participated. We appreciate your support!

From Fanjeaux to Bram via Montréal: conquering Lauragais in a particularly lively Canalathlon!

After two successful editions in 2016 and 2018, the Lauragais cluster for regional and rural balance (PETR) once again invited local athletes for a marathon unlike any other, on Sunday, October 17 … read on to find out more about this 3rd edition of the Canalathlon, a solidarity sporting event in aid of the canal du Midi tree replanting project.

The morning mist hadn’t lifted yet when the starting signal for the Canalathlon was given. The 104 teams who had signed up for the event, representing over 400 participants in total – a record since the event’s creation –, took off in the streets of Fanjeaux for the first event of the day: the orienteering race. It wasn’t long before the first teams, some in costume for the occasion, found the markers hidden throughout the village. Next, they seized their bikes to cycle the 7.5 miles separating Fanjeaux from Montréal, where the second stage would begin: a race of one and a quarter miles. It was then the second pair’s turn to jump on a mountain bike for a 5-mile pedal to Béteille lock. For the last stage of the race, the four members of each team, reunited at last, boarded two canoes to reach Bram harbor. The water was cold, but the excitement kept the participants warm. Once moored in Bram harbor, a final effort awaited the teams to complete this sporting event: a 1-mile race to reach the finish line at Château de Lordat in Bram.

Meanwhile, the village of Bram, where the participants would arrive, had been busy preparing for the arrival of the first teams since 10 a.m. Families and passers-by were all able to enjoy many activities set up on site. From bicycles to smoothies, local producers’ markets and exhibitions – there was something for everyone! The VNF patronage program also had its own stand, where Marie-Constance Mallard, author of Violette Mirgue, Le trésor du canal du Midi, give children the opportunity to draw and complete a fresco dotted with Violette Mirgue mice. Once all the participants had arrived, the grounds of Château de Lordat were transformed into a stunning open-air restaurant!



At the end of the day, a check for €1,000 was handed over to Laurent Adnet, Head of the Voies navigables de France patronage program. All donations collected will be used to help finance the vast canal du Midi green canopy restoration project.

What had already been a wonderful day ended on a beautiful note in bright sunshine with the band “Baraka Groove.”


A big thank you to you, our weekend warriors (October 17)!

Carve your name into the “Friends of the canal du Midi” virtual tree!

Thousands of trees still need to be planted to restore the canal du Midi’s canopy that has been ravaged by the disease known as canker stain. You can help us by taking part in our new crowdfunding campaign, which begins on September 24, 2021!

Who hasn’t dreamed of carving their name or initials into the bark of a centuries-old tree along the canal du Midi? Except that,of course, this is forbidden… So why not do it virtually, and make that dream come true while also taking part in a gesture of solidarity?

This is what Voies Navigables de France (VNF) is proposing with their new crowdfunding operation, “Carve your name on the ‘Friends of the canal du Midi’ tree,” which can be found at

For each donation of at least €20, you can carve your name into a branch on a virtual tree, and even choose its species (oak, poplar, maple, linden, etc.).

The larger the donation, the more unique rewards you can claim: an “I’m drawing the future of the canal du Midi” sticker, a postcard of the canal du Midi, the children’s book “Violette Mirgue : le trésor du canal du Midi,” the CD “Nougaro, autour de Minuit” recorded by the choir Archipels and even tickets to the VNF gala dinner at Fouquet’s restaurant in Toulouse on December 9, 2021.

“Every little bit helps,” explains Laurent Adnet, VNF Patronage Manager. “We’re really counting on your generosity. Since people were often asking us if they could sponsor a tree, we came up with this idea.”

Voir plus

VNF’s goal is to raise €60,000 by October 17, 2021, which would enable 400 new trees to be purchased for the canal du Midi.

The VNF patronage team is counting on your generosity and sharing on social media to make this operation a success.

Épargne Occitanie: the canal du Midi replanting project selected by the Occitanie Region

Get involved in the canal du Midi replanting project by making a donation on Wiseed, the solidarity savings platform set up by the Occitanie Region and the Occitanie Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Occitanie Region, in partnership with the Occitanie Chamber of Commerce and Industry and regional crowdfunding company Wiseed, is launching the citizen savings platform Épargne Occitanie that gives local residents the opportunity to invest their savings in regional companies or donate to recognized projects of general interest, thus funding the local economy. The canal du Midi replanting project is one of the 20 projects selected.

You have until the beginning of August to support the canal du Midi replanting project and help us reach our fundraising target of €50,000.

This will go toward:

  • Felling and replanting, to slow the spread of the disease through suitable prophylactic measures;
  • Restoring the banks, as the plane trees’ roots contribute to holding the soil in place;
  • Preserving biodiversity. In order to minimize the impact on the local animal population, felling takes place during two specific periods. During these periods, tree hollows are located and any animals living in them are safely removed. VNF then sets up nesting boxes to make up for the habitats lost due to felling.

Tax deduction and rewards

As with all crowdfunding projects, donors can claim rewards based on the amount they donate.

  • or €50 or more: a photo print of the canal du Midi signed by the photographer, Daniel Banon
  • For €150 or more: the previous reward + one ticket to an open-air film screening at the Cale de Radoub in Toulouse next September (5th edition of the solidarity event to benefit the Canal du Midi)
  • For €300 or more: all previous rewards + the book “L’eau et les siècles” (Editions Privat)

Finally, each donation is eligible for a tax deduction of 66% of the total.


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