From the charming little port of Le Somail you will sail on the longest continuous section of canal in France (52km without a lock!) on the Canal du Midi before reaching the famous Fonseranes lock ladder which is near to the historic city of Béziers. Keep cruising eastwards and you’ll arrive at the Etang de Thau lake, famous for its oyster beds. The last section of the cruise sees you navigate alongside the Mediterranean before reaching the fortified town of Aigues-Mortes.
By hiring a canal boat from the Nicols base at Le Somail you are in the ideal place to discover one of the most famous waterways in Europe – the Canal du Midi. The charming little port of Le Somail can be found halfway between Carcassonne and Béziers on the longest continuous section of canal in France, at 52km without seeing a lock!
Le Somail: Ice house cooler dating back to 1684, "Le Trouve-tout du livre" bookstore and its 50,000 books for sale!
Argeliers: Castle of the 12th century classified as “historic monument”
Malpas: Tunnel of Malpas, old pond of Montady (now dried up to an amazing shape), “oppidum d’Ensérunnes”: one of the largest archaeological sites in France; remains of Greek, Roman and Celtic civilization
Colombiers: charming half circle port, old wine cellar
Fonserannes: “Staircase of 9 locks” a unique site in France, small tourist train to Beziers (summer months)
Béziers: Beziers canal bridge – worth it for the view!, Saint-Nazaire cathedral, arts museum and Biterrois
Port Cassafières: Ranch les Gaillardels for horse riding, wetland walks, access to Portiragnes beaches (4km away), Azimut Adventures for tree climbing and canyoning
Vias: Wine tasting, church of St. John the Baptist, Vias beach (1km away), Europark (the biggest indoor fairground in France)
Agde: a unique round lock, Agde museum, Cap d’Agde beaches (4km away)
Marseillan: Guided tours of the wine cellars including the famous Noilly Prat (vermouth), shuttlebus to the beach
Mèze: Penitents chapel, Château de Girard, Visit of oyster bed by boat, beaches, le Dinosaures Parc museum
Bouzigues: capital of oyster and mussel production, museum about shellfish of the region, boat trips to the oyster beds
Sète: Richelieu citadel, International Museum of Modest Arts, Espace Georges-Brassens, Audio-guided tours in the city, famous Languedoc games such as boat-jousting
Frontignan: walks through the surrounding vineyards, 7km of beaches, St Paul fortified church, Museum of local history
Villeneuve-les-Maguelone: 9km of beaches, scenic tourist train route, Abbey of Maguelonne, Roman cathedral, Old streets
Palavas les Flots: Albert Dubout comedy museum, steam train museum, Festivals in the summer, famous Languedoc games such as boat-jousting, casino
Carnon-Plage: sand dunes beach
Grau du Roi: beaches, Seaquarium, Maritime Museum, Palais de la Mer leisure centre, Les Salins du Midi salt pans
Aigues-Mortes: walk around the 13th century ramparts and five towers, Museum of history and archaeology, Church of Notre-Dame
Gallician: vineyards and wine cellars, Scamander Nature Reserve, raised trail for walks across the marshes
Franquevaux: Horse-drawn carriage rides in the heart of Camargue, meet manadiers (wild horse herders) and learn about their work
Saint Gilles: The abbey (a UNESCO site), Museum of the Romanesque House
Bellegarde: makers of Clairette de Bellegarde white wine, Broussan chapel, Oil mill, Roman aqueduct
On reaching Bellegarde your boating holiday on the Canal du Midi has come to an end. You can return your canal boat to the Nicols base.
Holiday reviews from Somail
A week of relaxation
The ever-changing backdrops and beautiful scenery of the Canal du Midi is something to admire – the best place to do this being from your canal boat! We particularly enjoyed going through the Fonseranes lock ladder and the bridges and lock at Agde. After crossing the Etang du Thau pond we headed parallel to the sea and on to the Camargue, enjoying an afternoon at the beach.