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

Fondation des pêcheurs: recreational fishermen working for the greater good

Founded by the Fédération Nationale de la Pêche en France, the Fondation des pêcheurs works to protect our wetlands and aquatic environments. It relies on the unique know-how and expertise of recreational fishermen to carry out operations to restore and preserve these ecosystems. Thanks to donations, it acquires threatened sites to be restored all over France. These sites are also used to raise awareness of the richness and fragility of the wetlands and aquatic environments, to the most people possible.

What is a wetland?

Wetlands (rivers, lakes, canals, wet meadows, bogs, etc.) offer many benefits to human habitations when they are well-preserved and in good condition.

They act like sponges, holding back floods, and restoring water in times of drought. They function as natural filters to improve water quality. They absorb CO2, contributing to the fight against climate change, and bring freshness in periods of extreme drought, which unfortunately are bound to become more frequent.

A natural resource under threat

Wetlands are hugely important for natural diversity.

In France, 30% of rare or threatened plant species are found in wetlands and 50% of bird species spend part or all of their life cycles in wetlands. Not to mention fish and amphibians that depend 100% on them!

These environments are under all sorts of pressure. In France, the wetland area has decreased by more than half since 1950, and more than 40% of wetlands studied between 2010 and 2020 have degraded.

Support the projects of the Fondation des pêcheurs!

The Fondation des pêcheurs has already acquired more than 200 hectares of aquatic territory meet to these various challenges: restoration of river annexes, prevention of over-development, rewilding, flood protection and even the preservation of quiet zones. Projects are underway in Seine-Maritime, Pyrenées-Atlantiques, Morbihan and Cantal. But there is still so much to do… Help the foundation to protect the biodiversity of our wetlands all over France.

Our wetlands and aquatic environments need you!

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

This year, the canal du Midi tree replanting project is celebrating its 10th anniversary, a milestone in a project whose progress has not slowed down

Voies navigables de France celebrated the 10th anniversary of its canal du Midi replanting project this Thursday, December 9 in Trèbes (Aude). Here we look back at the work already completed and all that remains to be done to restore the canal du Midi’s green canopy, affected since 2006 by canker stain.

Plane tree disease: the early stages of the replanting project

As robust and imposing as they may seem, plane trees can develop a long-known disease called canker stain. It was probably introduced with the landing of American troops in France in 1945, by boxes of ammunition made from infected wood arriving from the United States. The disease is caused by a microscopic fungus which dries the plane tree and inexorably kills it. It was first detected on plane trees along the canal du Midi in 2006, in Villedubert (Aude).

Unfortunately, researchers were unable to find any curative treatment, and the 42,000 plane trees bordering the canal came under threat. Voies navigables de France had no choice but to cut the diseased trees down to ensure user safety, and to replant new species to re-create the canal’s green canopy, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

The beginnings of the canal du Midi tree replanting project

The first trees were replanted in Aude in the winter of 2011-2012, six years after the disease now threatening our plane trees was discovered. The species were chosen not only for their landscape characteristics (colonnades and green canopy), but also for their resistance to disease. Thus Turkey oak, hackberry, Norway maple, small- and large-leaved linden trees, hop-hornbeam and white poplar were planted to replace plane trees.

In the past 10 years, 29,100 diseased or dead plane trees have been cut down, and 16,700 trees have already been replanted along the canal du Midi since the project to restore the green canopy began.

Replanting of canal trees… but that’s not all!

  • Canal bank restoration

Bank restoration is a central component of the canal du Midi replanting project, since cutting down plane trees causes the gradual elimination of the root network that supports these banks. Various processes are therefore necessary to stabilize them before replanting new trees to replace the decimated plane trees.

In the space of 10 years, 33.5 miles of banks have been restored.

  • Preserving the biodiversity of the canal

The canal du Midi is a boating site with an exceptional architectural heritage. It is also an area rich in biodiversity, an ecological corridor home to many species of animals (fish, amphibians, birds, etc.) and aquatic plants. An action plan has been set up to preserve the canal’s biodiversity by limiting and offsetting the impacts of felling on fauna and flora.

Plane trees affected by canker stain are therefore cut down in the spring and fall of each year, out of respect for the biodiversity, and in particular the breeding and nesting periods of birds, wintering, and the rearing of small animals for bats.

Also, since 2015, bird nesting campaigns and bat houses have been set up to provide shelter for wildlife displaced by felling. At least 1,350 habitats have been introduced along the entire length of the canal du Midi and in the surrounding environment.

Replanting project investments

€79 million has been invested over the past 10 years to carry out this massive project. The estimated overall cost of the project is €220 million.

Since December 2013 and the creation of the VNF patronage program, replanting campaigns have received support to the tune of €8 million, raised by companies, foundations and individuals concerned about preserving this regional historic and environmental emblem. It is thanks to the joint effort of the business world, citizens, local authorities and the government that we are able to carry out this colossal project for the preservation our French river heritage.

A big thank you for all your support!


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!

“Down time,” an ideal period for “dry” canal du Midi operations

Canal du Midi structural maintenance and restoration are two of the VNF’s most important missions. From November 2 to December 24, 2021, the canal du Midi undergoes a period of “down time,” ideal for carrying out work that cannot be done when the canal is in use while limiting the impact on economic activities and navigation.

Traditional maintenance work

The Voies navigables de France teams carry out work on the canal du Midi all year long. However, some work can be done only when the reaches are emptied, such as lock gate repair and modernization, and sealing and masonry work. VNF also makes the most of the reaches being empty (a reach is the area of a canal between two locks) to remove objects that have been thrown in.


Close attention to banks

This “down time” is also used to renovate any damaged banks; although necessary, cutting down plane trees because of canker stain gradually erodes the centenary roots, essential for maintaining banks. The aim this winter is to restore 8 miles of banks. Thirty miles of banks will then have been rebuilt in total as part of this project undertaken to restore the canal du Midi’s green canopy. Nine sites will be renovated between Toulouse and Marseillan, in Haute-Garonne, in Aude and in Hérault.


Choosing the right technique for the reach

Different techniques are used depending on the area, and depending on how many people use the site, on whether there are stationary boats and on the type of bank. The main technique used consists in driving oak or chestnut piles into the ground to which wooden boards are attached vertically.


The VNF teams also use “plant engineering” techniques whenever possible, including reprofiling of slopes combined with helophyte plantations (plants that grow in the water: iris, rush, sedge, etc.).

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.

Let's work together
to preserve the Canal du Midi

You can take part in the canal du Midi replanting project