Summer in France - day 6: cycling along the Canal du Midi. | enigma

Summer in France - day 6: cycling along the Canal du Midi.

The strong wind that cooled the past few days has gone down. Already from the morning it promises to be a very hot day.

We spend the morning at our pool. The pile of books I brought hasn't really been read yet. After noon, it is ideal to cool off on the shady banks of the Canal du Midi.

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We have two bikes available and decide to make a bike ride out of it. The canal runs through the valley where we stay. It's close, and we shouldn't take major roads. We cycle along the vineyards to the canal.

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The Canal du Midi (Canal of the South) was dug in the second half of the 1600s. It starts in Toulouse and ends at Etang de Thau, near Sète. The canal to the Garonne connects this canal to the Atlantic Ocean. In this way, a waterway has been built that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The canal is busy sailing by pleasure boats. You can rent a boat without a license. Some dexterity is required, because you have to go through a lot of locks that absorb the differences in height. We occasionally witness the use of such a lock.

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The boat has entered the lock. Notice the height of the location of the boat. It's much higher than the water in front of it. The lock gates now let water through, causing the water level in the lock to the level of the water in front of it. See the boat down?

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When the water level is at the correct height, the lock gates open and further hazards can be made.

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Below you can see the level difference in and behind such a lock.

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There are 63 such locks along the 250 km long canal.

We continue our way to Marseillette, a village where we stop for an ice cream and a drink. We return along the vineyards and rice fields, so as not to have to take the same road back.

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From the reeds along the roadsides a heron rises a few times. We don't notice him until he flies away. Probably scare him when we ride past him. In the picture it is not very good to see, but the plants are in the water.

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