First event of the year for the canal du Midi Patrons Business Club

The first event of the year for the Patrons Business Club took place on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at L’Appart, 37 rue de Metz in Toulouse. On the program, speeches, encounters and discussions while enjoying a cocktail reception.

It was a real pleasure to gather together and share an evening of camaraderie!

On March 24, the representatives of the canal du Midi patron businesses had the pleasure of meeting and spending time talking together in a unique location in Toulouse: L’Appart Team One.

During this event, we were lucky enough to have welcomed guests such as Henri Bouyssès, VNF’s South-West Director, Cécile Dufraisse, Deputy Mayor of Toulouse in charge of rivers and canals, and Samuel Vannier, an archivist at VNF. Mr. Vannier shared anecdotes about what happened on the canal du Midi in March. The guests eagerly listened to these rare historical explanations.

We look forward to the next Club event, which will take place in Béziers at the “In Situ” hotel on Tuesday, June 28.

If you would like to join the canal du Midi Patrons Business Club, just contact Julie Birs: julie.birs@vnf.fr

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!

 

2021 canal du Midi Business Patrons Awards Evening

On Thursday November 18, the 2021 canal du Midi Business Patrons Awards Evening was held at Mas Tolosa, near Toulouse.

The purpose of the canal du Midi Patrons Business Club is to bring together regional economic players around the same cause, namely the canal du Midi, and above all the same project, that of restoring the green canopy threatened by the disappearance of plane trees attacked by canker stain.

This year, the club’s 60 business patrons raised more than €300,000 through donations, sufficient to purchase over 2,000 new trees to be replanted beside the canal.

The evening was an opportunity to review the replanting project, and in particular to thank the business patrons for their commitment to the canal du Midi restoration project. This year, some thirty patrons rose to the challenge. After a cocktail event held in an ancient barn at Mas Tolosa, the trophies were awarded by category (friends, bronze, silver, gold and platinum). Each year, this trophy evening is a great opportunity for the business patrons of the canal du Midi to meet and chat.

A big thank you to all our patrons, who together are contributing to the preservation of a historic, economic and environmental symbol: the canal du Midi.

Evening event at Domaine de L’Ale in Capestang: replanting project review with the patrons of the canal du Midi

It has been 10 years since the canal du Midi tree replanting project began. For the occasion, the Voies navigables de France patronage program invited its patrons to the magnificent Domaine de l’Ale in Capestang on September 28.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the canal’s tree replanting project, the Voies navigables de France patronage program invited the canal du Midi Patrons Business Club, the service clubs and the key economic players in Aude and Hérault to a cocktail event at the magnificent Domaine de l’Ale in Capestang.

Located just a few feet from the canal, it was the perfect place for presenting a project progress report on the current state of the banks, the replanting progress and the effects already being felt on biodiversity.

We were delighted to receive these key contributors to the replanting project, actively involved in the actions undertaken.

Outdoor cinema screenings at the Mas des Canelles, in support of the canal du Midi replanting project

A longstanding patron of the canal du Midi, the Mas des Canelles in Castanet-Tolosan (31) is holding 2 solidarity open-air film screenings on July 6 and 20. Get your tickets now!

The Mas des Canelles, a unique venue located just 15 minutes from Toulouse in Castanet-Tolosan, is holding two open-air film screenings in its picturesque gardens alongside the canal du Midi for a dreamy summertime experience on July 6 and 20.

Tuesday, July 6 at 10 pm: I’m So Excited! by Pedro Almodóvar

Comedy (2013) – 91 minutes – Original language (Spanish) with French subtitles

On board a Peninsula Airlines A340, a colorful group of passengers are on their way to Mexico City. Among them, a crook, an incorrigible ladies’ man, a journalist, two newlyweds straight out of the projects, a clairvoyant and a suspicious-looking Mexican man are all seated in business class. When they learn that an emergency landing is underway, the passengers realize that their final hour is likely upon them.

I book my tickets

Tuesday, July 20 at 10 pm: Little White Lies 2 by Guillaume Canet

Comedy (2019) – 135 minutes

A stressed-out Max decides to go to his beach house to unwind. His group of friends, whom he hasn’t seen for more than three years, suddenly shows up to surprise him for his birthday! While Max is definitely surprised, the tepid welcome he gives his friends isn’t exactly what they were hoping for. Max then finds himself pretending to be happy during a stay that puts the group into some unexpected situations, to say the very least. The kids have grown up, others have been born, and parents no longer have the same priorities.

I book my tickets

All ticket proceeds will be donated to the canal du Midi replanting project.

Price: €10

Reduced price (those who are unemployed or under 18): €7

 

Refreshments are also available at the Les Colocs restaurant. Info and bookings: +33 (0)5 32 10 87 44

 

The Mas des Canelles

“As a well-known and reputable venue in the region, we host all types of events during the year. Since last year, we have also had the pleasure of opening our spaces for public events. With an ideal location along the canal du Midi and just 15 minutes from Toulouse, we have decided to open the doors of this beautiful estate once again to the general public with an original offer. The Mas des Canelles has been a patron of the canal du Midi for several years. As part of our activity, we wanted to join forces with the VNF patronage program to organize two events dedicated to the ‘7th art’”.

Nesting boxes in schools!

Voies Navigables de France has launched a large-scale campaign to distribute bird and bat shelters to local communities, businesses, individuals and schools near the canal du Midi. It is an unprecedented opportunity to take part in the protection of biodiversity throughout the Occitanie region in an original way! With the help of the EDF Group Foundation, specific educational activities have been organized for school children of all ages to raise awareness throughout the region of the richness and fragility of the local environment.

The flora and fauna inventories of the canal du Midi, managed by VNF during the development of the canal’s canopy restoration project, show that the disappearance of its plane trees has led to the destruction of certain habitats of protected species (80% of bird species and 100% of bat species are protected by law in France).

In order to respect the biodiversity of the canal, VNF has drawn up an action plan to limit the impact of felling on the reproduction and hibernation of these protected species. The installation of animal shelters plays a central role in this plan.

Since 2015, VNF has been launching campaigns to set up bird nesting boxes and bat shelters. To date, 1,350 shelters have already been set up along the canal du Midi and in its surroundings, with the aim of eventually setting up a total of 1,800.

Observing life

Schools in (name the towns concerned) have hosted visits by ecology experts from a worker cooperative based in the Occitanie region: Symbiosphere. They design, manufacture and monitor an entire range of wooden shelters commissioned by VNF.

“In schools, we often have more attentive audiences and sometimes more interesting questions than those asked by adults,” says Yann Portal, an ecologist at Symbiosphere, with a smile. “Getting the message across to younger kids can also help raise awareness among parents… ”

While VNF takes care of the monitoring and maintenance of nesting boxes, children also have an active role to play. They must observe the life unfolding in these nesting boxes and share their observations through a dedicated smartphone app.

“It’s not enough for the shelter to be set up; what really matters is whether or not animals decide to live in it,” says Emilie Collet, Head of the Environment & Landscapes Bureau at VNF. “This data is then collected and analyzed by a specialized research organization. The goal is to better understand the impact of these artificial habitats on animals over time.”

Vintage solidarity posters of the canal du Midi

The famous poster designer Marcel Travel Posters has become a partner of Voies Navigables de France by creating 3 solidarity posters representing the canal du Midi.

Great news for lovers of the canal du Midi and retro posters! Voies Navigables de France has teamed up with vintage poster pioneers Marcel Travel Posters to create 3 superb new posters that highlight the beauty of the canal du Midi. These posters combine artistic creation and an act of solidarity as for each 50×70 poster sold, €2 is donated to the canal du Midi replanting program.

Those in the know will easily recognize Marcel Travel Posters’ iconic style in these new posters. In warm and sunny colors, these drawings highlight the 3 main tourist attractions of the canal du Midi: boating, hiking and cycling.
The VNF patronage program and Marcel Travel Posters wanted to go farther in this great project by allowing buyers to contribute to the preservation of this iconic part of the region’s heritage. So, for each 50×70 cm poster sold at €29, €2 will be donated to the canal du Midi replanting program.

Posters are available on Marcel Travel Posters’ website: https://marcel-travelposters.com and from regular retailers.

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