canal

Entering Agen, France.

by cjj on May 6, 2012

There is a series of 4 locks climbing up a hill into Agen. There is a small pound between each lock, like a glass pond when we went through because there weren’t many other boats. It was a great way to end our trip from Valence-sur-Baise. At the top of the locks we crossed the flooded Garonne River on a very long aquaduct and then boated next to peak hour traffic to the harbour in the middle of town. Great fun!

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Garonne Valley and canal.

by cjj on May 2, 2012

We’re still on the Canal du Garonne only because the rivers are flooding. Our plan was to cross the Garonne River and have a look at the Lot River, but both are closed to our hire boat. Luckily the canal is very picturesque and we have really enjoyed it. Yesterday evening, just after the rain stopped, we went for a walk up the steep hill into town. From the lookout there is this fantastic view of the Garonne valley. Today Shirley and I went for a bike ride on the tow path and stopped for a short while to do a painting.

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Meilhan-sur-Garonne

by cjj on May 2, 2012

Today was May Day in France which is a very well observed holiday. Everything was closed, including cafes and restaurants … but our port’s captains were English, and they didn’t mind opening their little office which doubles as a bar! This afternoon we enjoyed a drink at their establishment. Part of the fun was WIFI access, and I downloaded a 360 photo app for my phone.  Hence this wonky photo! It is of us sitting under an umbrella on the edge of the canal. In the background is a narrow boat, a few of them are moored here, ready for hire.

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Condom on the Baise River, France.

by cjj on April 27, 2012

Arriving at Condom by boat is just amazing. It’s a beautiful, ancient town, and the harbour is quiet and peaceful, especially at this time of year. It wasn’t crowded at all, and we could moor any where. Getting off the boat and being right in the middle of town without having to find anywhere to park is brilliant!

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We arrived here one afternoon and were entertained by the dramatic emptying of all the locks that are lined up like a giant staircase.
Here is an interesting excerpt from Wikipedia:
Though Pierre-Paul Riquet rightly receives so much credit and acknowledgement for the creation of the Canal du Midi, we may forget that many individual parts of the canal were built by subcontractors other than Riquet. The subcontractors for these locks were two illiterate brothers, Michel and Pierre Medailhes. Many of the workers were women. (^ Mukerji, Chandra (2009). Impossible Engineering. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14032-2.)

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Malpas Tunnel, Canal du Midi

by cjj on January 6, 2011

This was a very interesting area. I wrote about the Etang de Montady when we were there! This is a short movie of the tunnel. The boater’s guide book said it was easy, and it was, you just needed a loud horn on the boat. I was very pleased that we were able to follow a boat through that wasn’t shy about using it. I’ve deliberately lowered the volume on this movie because our chatter is not all that interesting. Better to play your own music!

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Canal du Midi, locks and birds

by cjj on December 18, 2010

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All hand held camera, so a bit shaky, and the original sound track, sorry for my few loud words that don’t mean anything. But I like this video because it captures the feel of the locks, and the canal. It goes for about 6.5 minutes.

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last lock near Lattes

by cjj on October 27, 2010

Control office at the lock near Lattes

Control office at the lock near Lattes

This lock had to be the most unloved lock that we saw. There is a lof of graffiti in France, but that’s another post. This shed and its surrounds were totally unkept and unloved. It was a sad way to end our wonderful trip. The buildings and surrounds of the other locks all looked fantastic. They had old buildings, but gardens and hedges, and really looked terrific. There was no landscaping here, and even the water looked like sludge. The canal/river wasn’t much better. It’s a bit late tonight, but  I will look up the proper names and edit this post later on.

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Canal-du-Midi

by cjj on October 12, 2010

Canal du midi

Canal-du-midi

Sunday 10th October

This is part of a canal that actually cuts France in half.

This was our first day on this canal. It is wider and more landscaped than the Baise. We can stop anywhere along it. On the boat is a mallet with 3 steel pegs so that we can moor anywhere.
It rained most of this day, and we got drenched holding onto ropes in locks.

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Valence sur Baise, France

by cjj on October 12, 2010

Valence sur Baise

View of the canal and port from the hill at Valence sur Baise.

Valence sur Baise is the place where we hired our first boat. When we arrived there it was wet and windy and we didn’t look around much. The locaboat office was closed so we got our taxi driver to take us to a cafe so that we could wait. He drove us to the town square at the top of the hill and it looked like all the workers in the village were there having lunch, including the locaboat man. No one spoke English, but they were very friendly, and I was able to order 2 beers and lunch (but I didn’t know what lunch, I just agreed to their suggestions).
When we came back down the canal to drop off the boat we went for a walk to see what was there. It is a very interesting, very old town.
You can see the canal in the middle of this photo. Locaboat have an office there and a number of boats for hire.

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