Canal du MidiCastelnaudary RETURN via Carcassonne

7nt Castelnaudary RETURN via Carcassonne

7 nights | 80km | 48 locks | Approx. 21 hrs of cruising

Castelnaudary is our gateway to the tranquil and quieter end of the Canal du Midi where you can enjoy the simplicity of boating, taking walks around quiet villages and cycling through the glorious French countryside. Although in contrast to all this, the famous, fortified citadel at Carcassonne is the turnaround point on this 7 night suggested itinerary – a UNESCO heritage site and a ‘must-see’ for anyone visiting this region.

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Suggested itinerary

1

DAY 1: Arrive in Castelnaudary

0km | 0 locks | Approx. 0 hrs 0 mins of cruising

Arrive at base

2pm - 5pm

After you have arrived and checked-in, we'll show you to your boat as quickly as possible. Spend time settling in, freshen up and await your pre-departure briefing which will be given by one of our base technicians. They will familiarise you with the boat’s domestic systems and give you a hands-on demonstration of the boat controls and how to operate it. They will make sure you are comfortable and confident controlling the boat, as well as navigating the waterway, before you set off.

Explore Castelnaudary

5pm - 6:30pm

While part of your crew is settling on the boat, you can buy groceries 6 minutes away (by car) from the base at Intermarché, or 10 minutes away (by foot) in the city center at the Spar. We recommend lunch on board your boat tomorrow, so make sure you have enough provisions for a lunchtime feast.

Dinner at Le Tirou, Castelnaudary

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Feast on delicious traditional cassoulet at this popular family-owned & run restaurant, complete with alpacas roaming in the surrounding gardens. +33 (0)4 68 94 15 95 | tirou.fr

Le Tirou is only open in the evening on Saturdays - so on other days La Maison du Cassoulet, in the centre of Castelnaudary, is very popular and open every day for dinner.

Overnight in Castelnaudary

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Castelnaudary > Villepinte

9:30am - 3pm

Approx. 4.5hrs (+ 1hr for lunch) | 15 locks

The start of your boating adventure gets immediately underway with a flight of 4 locks (St-Roch) to pass through. Shortly after there's a flight of 2 locks, followed by a flight of 3 and then a further 6 single locks all within 0.5 to 1km of each other. It's slow going but enjoy the experience. It's an excellent way to 'learn the ropes' quickly and by the time you reach Villepinte, you'll be true experts. Remember the locks close at midday, when the lock keepers take lunch, so have some lunch yourself, wherever along the canal you end up. 

When you reach Villepinte, moor opposite the Épanchoir de Villepinte (spillway).

Explore Villepinte

3:30pm - 6:30pm

Villepinte is a great place to take out your bikes (if you have added some to your booking) and enjoy the beautiful canal scenery on two wheels.

Dinner at Les Deux Acacias, Villepinte

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Enjoy a lovely home-cooked meal at this laid-back restaurant, conveniently located in a charming hotel in the centre of the village, not far from the canal. +33 (0)4 68 94 24 67  | les-deux-acacias.fr

Overnight in Villepinte

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Villepinte > Bram

9:30am - 11am

Approx. 1hr 30mins | 3 locks

Explore Bram

11am - 12:30pm

This pretty and quiet village is built on a circular plan with a 13th century church at its heart. A pleasant walk or cycle along a pretty tree-lined avenue will take you directly to the village. 

Lunch in Le Petit Bramais, Bram

12:30pm - 2pm

We recommend Le Petit Bramais. It is a cosy restaurant situated in the former hardware store. Enjoy a delicious modern menu, with a traditional French twist. +33 (0)4 68 77 10 06

Explore Eburomagus Archaeological Museum

2pm - 3pm

Take your time to explore the museum of archaeology, the "Eburomagus Archaeological Museum", which houses more than 4,000 artefacts that have been discovered through excavations in and around the area over the last 30 years. 

Bram > Villesèquelande

3:30pm - 5pm

Approx. 1hr 30mins | 1 lock

When you reach Villesèquelande, moor by the charming stone bridge which allows you easy access to the village of Villesèquelande, a short 500m away.

Explore Villesèquelande

5:30pm - 6:30pm

Enjoy a leisurely, early-evening walk around the village. Seek out the pretty church and clock the Sully Elm, planted in the square outside; it is one of the last elms still alive in France.

Dinner in La Halte Romaine, Villesèquelande

7:30pm - 9:30pm

A local gem specialising in freshly-caught, local seafood dishes and pizza. Bookings are advised: +33 9 61 60 17 61

Overnight in Villesèquelande

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Villesèquelande > Carcassonne

9am - 12noon

Approx. 3hrs | 5 locks

Lunch in Chez Fred, Carcassonne (lower town area)

12noon - 1pm

We recommend Chez Fred: Adjacent to the port (just a 4 minute walk), Pierre and Siham share their passion for good, seasonal and local produce. A refined, bistronomic cuisine that combines flavours, colours and originality. +33 (0)4 68 72 02 23 | restaurant-chezfred.fr

Walk or take a bus to Cité de Carcassonne

1pm - 1:30pm

To get from the lower town area (St Louis Bastide) up to the fortified citadel, you can take a 30 minute walk - or catch a bus (10 minutes) from the bus station opposite the port.

Explore La Cité de Carcassonne (the citadel)

2pm - 8pm

Visit the ancient part of the city "La Cité de Carcassonne". A UNESCO World Heritage site, this fortified, medieval, walled city is unique in Europe by its sheer size and its superb state of conservation. Walking along the walls, you’ll appreciate the immense scale of the structure. Then, visit the Cathedral St. Nazaire, a beautiful structure, if only to view its magnificent stained-glass windows. Finally, wander through the cobbled streets to Château Comtal, located at the heart of the citadel.

Dinner in La Marquière, Carcassonne (the citadel)

8pm - 9:30pm

We recommend La Marquière: This is a 'good find' in the heart of the citadel, offering classic French dishes which are beautifully presented. Enjoy dining al fresco in the lovely inner terrace and be sure to leave room for dessert. Booking recommended: +33 (0)4 68 71 52 00 | lamarquiere.com

La Marquière offers a complimentary kir to Le Boat customers.

Travel back to your boat

9:30pm - 10pm

Walk back to your boat (30 min) or take a taxi (pre-booking is recommended, ask the base to give you taxi companies details before your departure).

Overnight in Carcassonne

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Explore Carcassonne (lower town area)

9am - 12:30pm

While not the main attraction here, this sleepy half of the city is the perfect contrast to the hubbub of the citadel which towers above, and it is worth exploring. Both dating from the 18th century in a Gothic style, St. Michel Cathedral and St. Vincent Church are 500m apart. St. Michel Cathedral is simple and unassuming, but has lovely stained glass to admire; its facade has a large rose window that is eight meters in diameter. As for St. Vincent Church, its 54m-high, octagonal tower houses a carillon of 47 bells. Climb the 232 steps that’ll take you to the top and enjoy the stunning views over the entire city of Carcassonne and the surrounding territories. The Museum of Fine Arts houses a rich panorama of western paintings of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. You will also discover a collection of pottery, tapestries and other objet d’art. And don't miss the opportunity to stock up on fresh local produce from cheeses, meats, fish and vegetables at Les Halles houses a covered market, which were built in 1768. For golf-lovers, Carcassonne's internationally renowned golf course is 10 minutes away from your moorings by taxi, or 20 minutes by bike.

Lunch in Le Blé Noir, Carcassonne (lower town area)

12:30pm - 2pm

Only a 10 minute walk from the port, this crêperie is highly-rated and very popular, and serves out-of-this-world crêpes with savoury and sweet toppings to die for.  +33 (0)4 68 72 34 80

Carcassonne > Villesèquelande

2pm - 4:30pm

Approx. 3hrs | 5 locks

Explore Villesèquelande

4:30pm - 6pm

On this, your second visit to Villesèquelande, why not pop into the Museum of Chivalry? Its a quirky place, festooned with medieval displays, suits of armour and weaponry spanning 1000 years of history. musee-chevalerie.fr

Dinner on Board, Villesèquelande

7:30pm - 9:30pm

If you have one on board your boat (or if you added one to your booking) fire up the barbecue and dine al fresco on your sundeck. Enjoy the delicious, regional products that you bought in Carcassonne earlier.

Overnight in Villesèquelande

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Villesèquelande > Bram

10am - 11:30am

Approx. 1hr 30mins | 1 lock

Lunch in L'Ile aux Oiseaux, Bram

12noon - 1:30pm

In an idyllic canal-side location, this casual and laid-back restaurant specialises in fish and seafood: oysters, grilled razor clams, grilled tuna, sardines and mussels - accompanied with homemade fries. Yum! Bookings are a must. +33 (0)4 68 24 53 66

Water-skiing at Bram Teleski Nautique de Bram

2pm - 4pm

A 20 minute walk from the moorings (9 minutes by bike) you’ll find Lake Buzerens, home to Teleski Nautique de Bram. This is a great place to give water-skiing a try and spend a fun afternoon on (and in) the water. Pulled along by a 600 metre long, over-head ski-lift, adults and children as young as 7 years old can experience a variety of disciplines from knee-boarding to water-skiing, all the while supervised by experienced instructors. For bookings : +33 (0)4 68 79 74 14 | teleskinautiquebram.net 

Bram > Villepinte

4:30pm - 6pm

Approx. 1hr 30mins | 3 locks

Pizzeria Entre-nous, Villepinte

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Enjoy delicious pizza onboard! With Pizzeria Entre Nous you can order pizza for take away. +33 6 43 30 89 04

Overnight in Villepinte

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Villepinte > Pexiora

9:30am - 10am

Approx. 30mins | 1 lock

After you pass through Treboul Lock, keep going for about 600 metres and there are moorings on the right.

Explore Pexiora

10am - 11:30am

The little village of Pexiora is about 2km from the canal and the perfect place to enjoy a walk or a bike-ride to. The countryside is a delight here and there is a very good bakery and a small grocery store if you want to get some provisions in for lunch. 

Lunch on board, near Pexiora

12noon - 1pm

Pexiora > Castelnaudary

1pm - 5pm

Approx. 4 hrs | 14 locks

Explore Castelnaudary

5pm - 6:30pm

Take a walk up to the village and visit the St-Michel collegiate church. Then, continue further to the outskirt to enjoy the view from the Cugarel windmill. Built in the 17th century and restored in 1962, this cute, little stone windmill still has its working mechanism intact.

Dinner at Le Clos Fleuri, Castelnaudary

7:30pm - 9:30pm

After a 25 minute walk, enjoy fine dining made from local products in this beautiful restaurant in Clos Fleuri Hotel. Don't forget to try the authentic cassoulet, the traditional Castelnaudary dish!  +33 (0)4 68 94 01 20 | www.leclosfleuri.fr

Clos Fleuri offer a special discount to Le Boat customers.

Overnight in Castelnaudary

Breakfast on board

7:30am - 8:30am

Enjoy your final breakfast on board before tidying and vacating your boat by 9am (unless you have booked and paid for a late-checkout)

Depart Castelnaudary

9 am