Travel on the canal du Midi

 On this page, you will find al the information needed to plan your trip alongside the canal du Midi,by boat or by bike. The interactive map below will enquire you about the route, the historical monuments to visit and the numerous services that you will find during your trip.

Summary : 

1. An interactive map :


Watch on full screen


2. On water

Before taking the helm, a good boater should have in mind all the information about the waterway he is going to cross, its functioning and the rules of good conduct. You will also find attached a lexicon, useful to become a real sailor !


Built in the 17th century by Pierre-Paul Riquet, the canal du Midi is an inescapable element of the occitan cultural patrimony, a construction work ranked at the UNESO since 1998 and a place of discovery and leisure. 

The canal is borded by many works of art, including : 

      • 64 locks 
      • 55 aqueducts
      • 26 canal aqueducts
      • 76 dams
      • 1 tunnel



Navigation rythm is dictated by the 64 locks of the canal. We often say that Leonardo da Vinci invented these locks, but it seems that he has only improve the process and Pierre-Paul Riquet continued to improve its operation.

Definition: work allowing boats to pass the level difference between the  upstream forebay and the downstream forebay. To be concise, the lock is working as a "boat elevator".


Different types of locks exist : simple, double (as the lock of Fresquel) triple (such as the lock of Trèbes) and even real water stairs as the 9 locks of Fonserannes.

Locks can work manually with the help of a lock operator, or be automated


You will find an illustration useful to pass an automated lock. 



Passing a lock will be a particular moment of your trip. For more information concerning the canal's locks, you can click on the following link :



 Hours and dates of navigation 

For any informaion about the navigation period, you can either click on or you can peruse the notice of the waterway transport here.


Rules of roads and navigation :

For any information about the rules of roads and naviation, you can follow the following link that will guide you to the website of VNF South West. You will also find the official regulation of the navigation on the canal du Midi on  


Renting a boat or a fluvial cruise :

The interactive map above includes the adresses of boat renters alongside the canal. You can also click here or on the "Official of the canal du Midi" where you will find the list of boat renters and boat-hotels.  


For more information : 

You can consult "the essential of the boater" available here.



The banks of the canal are areas of leisure and discoveries, by foot or with a bike. Before going through this adventure, here are some essential information, because bike paths and canal towpaths intersect each other. 

Canalfriends is displaying freely guides around the canal 




The towpaths

Originally, boats were towed thanks to human strength or thanks to horses. This procedure was taking place on a clear path, a road built on one of the canal shore : the towpath. 


Nowadays, they are used by VNF as service roads for the waterway maintenance. They can also constitute a space for cyclists, but the circulation is possible only thanks to an authorization. 

Before your request for an authorization, please make sure to read the rules edited for the users of the towpaths on and send your request by email at, with the following information : 

  • the concerned area
  • the circulation schedule
  • the names / surnames of the cyclists

The circulation with bikes is at bikers risk ad peril. In case of issue or accident, you can however provide the circulation authorizations as one of the needed documents for your insurance.  


Green and bike roads

Green and bike roads are path constructed for "soft" transports. In order to circulte on those roads, you don't need any authorization, because they are handled by departemental authorities. More adapted to cycling, you will find the entire bike roads network on the map proposed on this website. 



In order to ensure the security of all and the preservation of the biodiversity, some common rules must be respected on shared spaces : 

      • The circulation of motorized engines is forbidden on the shores without an authorization delivered by VNF.
      • The circulation with horses is strictly prohibited : hoof's shock weakens the shores. 
      • The use and the maintenance of the towpaths leads to the set up of construction area. You will find their schedule on the website of VNF South-West. 
      • We advise to drive carefully on the towpaths, because they can be damaged. A great awareness is asked to the riders on the entire tour. 
      • it is recommanded to not drive on windy days because of the possible fall of branches. 
      • Sick trees are marked with paint on their trunks : one or two green line, two or three red circles. Do not stay under these marked trees. Do not scratch or fix anything on those trees.



During your journey by foot or by bike, you will notice that some plane trees are marked with paint.

These plane trees are sick, infected by a microscopic fungus named "canker stain", which sentences them to death. 

The infected plane trees dry and lose their leaves. For now, no treatment able to halt the epidemic has been found. A plane tree old of several hundred of years can die in 6 months


 VNF is commiting to rescue the trees of the canal du Midi through a replantation project. Nowadays, we need you to help us to achieve our objective : defeat the canker. For more information on the project or to make a donation, you can look over here



For more information about the itinerary by bike and the services displayed for the bikers (bike renting, housing, catering...), you can go to the dedicated website.

I support the project and I remain informed

Subscribe now to the newsletter of Canal du Midi to stay informed first !

  • last news of the Canal save program
  • invitations to magic events of the Canal
  • contest-game with a lot of prizes to win

See the last newsletter

My e-mail address will not be sold or exchanged. I can unsubscribe at any time.