30.10.2009 25 °C
As any reader of the C/Inspector Bliss mysteries will know, the recently retired British detective is an expert on the life and times of Louis XIV, the Sun King, who ruled France and its dominions from 1638 to 1715. Therefore, it would not be surprising to find the illustrious detective here in Languedoc Roussillon researching the next chapter for his long awaited novel concerning the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask.
Why here? Because one of Louis XIV’s greatest engineering feats - after Versailles - can still be seen much as it was in 1677 when it was completed by 15,000 workers under the guidance of Baron Pierre Riquet.
The 240 kilometre canal is a masterpiece of ingenuity; linking the Atlantic port of Bordeaux with the Mediterranean Sea by using the waters that flow from the Black Mountains of Languedoc Roussillon. Many of the bridges, aqueducts and other elements of the canal have remained unchanged for more than three hundred years. Here is one of the locks.....
Many of the trees that line the canal banks today were planted when the canal was new….
The reflections and shadows in the milky jade water produces artistic natural watercolours ….
And this mallard patiently posed on one leg for several minutes for this portrait....
There is no way to adequately describe the incredible beauty and serenity of this waterway, and as we walked the towpath into Carcassonne we decided that we would return as soon as possible to take a boat trip.
As we ate a picnic lunch by the canal in Carcassonne we enviously eyed a family group aboard an impressive boat that was just setting off on a cruise. “If only …” we mused, and went off in search of coffee in the central square.
But as we walked the towpath back to our starting point we found the same cruiser, “Carmen,” moored alongside the embankment. David, the English owner and skipper, warned us not to trip over his mooring ropes, and then invited us to join him and his family on a short cruise. David’s boat has a hull built in 1926 but, thanks to his hard work and engineering skill, it is a beautiful canal-worthy boat.
Here’s David at the helm
And here’s the view of a bridge from the bridge ….
Thanks to David and his family we had a day on the Canal-du-Midi to remember and our appetites have been whetted for an extended cruise on this beautiful waterway.