The magnificent Canal du Midi in southern France was designated a World Heritage site in 1996, with this year marking 25 years of UNESCO status. To celebrate, the number one provider of boating holidays on Europe’s beautiful inland waterways, Le Boat, has launched a limited time promotion, offering up to 15% off Canal du Midi holidays in 2022.
Built in the Seventeenth Century, the Canal du Midi is regarded as one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering of the period. The 360 km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (including locks, aqueducts, bridges and tunnels) was constructed between 1667 and 1694 by Pierre-Paul Riquet, paving the way for the Industrial Revolution. Located in the Occitan region, the Canal du Midi remains in continuous use, with pleasure boats replacing most of the freight vessels that once used the network as a major transport and supply system. UNESCO praised the historical, engineering and technological importance of the canal, but it also recognised the splendour of the architecture and man-made landscape, which sits beautifully alongside the natural environment.
Le Boat operates in nine countries, with the world’s largest fleet of over 900 self-drive boats. The company began in France more than 50 years ago, and the country has remained the operator’s most popular destination since. Today, Le Boat holidaymakers can choose from nine distinct regions in France, all easily accessible from the UK, spanning the north-west, north-east. the south, central, and eastern parts of the country. On the Canal du Midi, boaters can traverse more than 240 km of the scenic waterways. Famed for its wine tasting and world-class gastronomy, the region is rich in history and heritage, allowing holidaymakers to explore countless cathedrals, grand châteaux, ancient ruins and medieval cities. Until 25 December, Le Boat is offering up to 15% off Canal du Midi holidays booked for travel in 2022, with the offer applying to a variety of boat types.
As we emerge from the pandemic, a Le Boat holiday on the Canal du Midi offers the perfect sanctuary for those that want to escape the crowds and to make the most of their time with family and friends again. The operator’s easy-to-drive craft make reconnecting with the great outdoors easy, and what’s more, no previous boating experience is required, meaning anyone can take to the water. Holidaymakers can explore the canal between Toulouse all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, with Le Boat bases at Castelnaudary, Trèbes, Homps and Port Cassafières, giving boaters the option to start and end their trip where they please.
- Castelnaudary return via Toulouse: On this western section of the Canal du Midi, boaters can enjoy tranquil countryside and peaceful picturesque villages, before mooring up in Toulouse with its famous pink architecture and bustling gastronomy scene.
- Castelnaudary to Trèbes: Ideal for those seeking a long-weekend getaway, this shorter cruise lets boaters enjoy the café-culture of charming canal-side villages, as well as the option of visiting the historic fortified city of Carcassonne, with its breath-taking castle and eclectic mix of boutique shops and restaurants.
- Trèbes to Homps: Perfect for those travelling with kids, there is family fun to be had at Cavayère Lake and when mooring up at the medieval village of Puichéric, where holidaymakers can hire canoes, kayaks or standup paddle boards and ‘mess about’ on the adjacent River Aude.
- Homps to Port Cassafières: This weeklong cruise along an action-packed section of the canal, takes in the engineering marvels of the Malpas Tunnel and the Fonserannes Locks. Highlights include the pretty village of Le Somail and the ancient town of Béziers, which is one of the oldest settlements in France.
Travel with confidence: Holidaymakers continue to be reassured by Le Boat’s Covid Safety Charter, which was implemented last year and applies to all its destinations at home and abroad. The extensive health and safety procedures ensure customers have a safe and worry-free experience. Furthermore, holidaymakers are protected by the operator’s Go Boating with Confidence flexible booking policy, which allows customers to make one date change to their booking free of charge up to 14 days before their departure. And in the event of Covid related restrictions stopping travel, guests will be offered a credit note or receive a full cash refund, right up to the day of their departure*.
Go there: In 2022 Le Boat will operate on the Canal du Midi 27 March – 31 October. The region is easily reached from Toulouse airport, which benefits from low-cost direct flights from London, Bristol and Edinburgh. Return flights from the UK are priced from £36 pp with Ryanair. A seven-night self-catered stay on the Canal du Midi in 2022, starting and finishing at Le Boat’s base at Port Cassafières, is priced from £730.15 (was £859 per boat, saving 15%)**.
* See the Le Boat website for offer terms and conditions. **Transport to and from the base not included.
To plan your Le Boat trip: Call 02392 801125 or visit www.leboat.co.uk