Sunday 21 August 2016

Canal du Midi

Two years ago I spent three wonderful days right next to the Canal de la Robine, a branch of the Canal du Midi. It was where I bought all these postcards, except the second one, sent by Ulla.

Map of Canal du Midi
 The Canal du Midi (OccitanCanal de las Doas Mars, meaning canal of the two seas) is a 241 km (150 mi) long canal in Southern France (Frenchle Midi). It was originally named the Canal royal en Languedoc (Royal Canal in Languedoc) but the French revolutionaries renamed it to Canal du Midi in 1789. It was considered at the time to be one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century.

Canal du Midi
The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean and along with the 193 km (120 mi) long Canal de Garonne forms the Canal des Deux Mers joining the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Étang de Thau near the Mediterranean.

Canal du Midi
 The construction of the canal was motivated by wheat trade. Jean-Baptiste Colbert authorized the commencement of work by a royal edict of October 1666. Under the supervision of Pierre-Paul Riquet the construction took from 1666 to 1681 during the reign of Louis XIV

Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi is one of the oldest canals of Europe still in operation (the prototype being the Briare Canal). The challenges in these works are closely related to the challenges of river transport today. 

Canal du Midi

The key challenge, raised by Pierre-Paul Riquet, was to convey water from the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) to the Seuil de Naurouze, the highest point of the canal.

Fonserannes Lock
 Fonserannes Lock (Frenchécluse de Fonserannesles neuf écluses) is a staircase lock on the Canal du Midi near Béziers. It consists of eight ovoid lock chambers (characteristic of the Canal du Midi) and nine gates, which allow boats to be raised a height of 21.5 m, in a distance of 300 m. Whilst the flight was built as an 8-rise, to allow boats to cross the River Orb on a level, rejoining the canal a little further downstream, the crossing of the Orb was long ago replaced by an aqueduct.

Statue of Pierre-Paul Riquet at Béziers and Canal du Midi
Paul Riquet was born in BéziersHéraultFrance, the eldest son of solicitor, state prosecutor and businessman Guillaume Riquet.
Riquet is the man responsible for building the 240-kilometre-long artificial waterway that links the southern coast of France to Toulouse to link to the canal/river system that ran across to the Bay of Biscay, one of the great engineering feats of the 17th century. 
Riquet's major engineering achievements included the Fonserannes Lock Staircase and the Malpas Tunnel, the world's first navigable canal tunnel. The canal was completed in 1681, eight months after Riquet's death. He is buried in the Cathedral Saint-Etienne in Toulouse. - in: wikipedia

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