2002 Eating and Drinking Vacation
Canal Du Midi France

Warning!! These links to locks, food & wine, and Roman Ruins are very large and slow loading.

Locks Food & Wine Roman Ruins. Aqueducts. WallPaper. Jeff's Mini Tour.

Great to see a bed after 30+ hours traveling through 5 airports and a railroad station or two.
US Airways is the best, leg room, service and on schedule.
Hind sight: take a train from CDG or Lyons, avoid the no leg room situtation on Air France.
Our Hotel has the prettiest sitting patio .
First French pastry breakfast. Wade discovers the technique of following the bread trail to the nearest bakery.
Bread trail technique = back track the locals carrying sacks of bread to the just opened pastry shop.
Quick taxi cab ride to Port Cassafieres , which is 2 kilometers from the Mediterranean.

VilleNeuve les-Beziers
First night on board, nice little grocery store and outdoor market.
Wade found the first wine merchant, and a new invention. Jug wine , comes in 4  liter jugs, so you do not have to keep opening individual bottles..
Crossed the aqueduct over the river Orb. Not very good weather for pictures, cleaned camera lens 10 times, finally gave up.
Navigated the Fonseranes stepped locks, in the rain. Broken lock gate had to be operated by tourists pulling on a long rope.

Ate dinner in an old fortified house named Le Chateau De Colombiers , great service and food.
Sunny skies were a welcome sight the next morning.
Discovered that the main pastry shop, has a special branch office 100 foot from the canal that sells day old pastry to tourists. Followed the bread trail to the real pastry shop.
Colombiers was a very picturesque village with a  quaint looking defunct Hotel de Ville .
Climbed up a hill to check out the ruins 600 BC Roman fortified village ( L'Oppidum d'Enserune) . Could see an i rrigation grid laid out in the shape of  a wheel in the valley below. This irrigation project was constructed in the 1200s by monks to change the Pond of Montady into productive fields. Link to French site, describing the history and engineering involved in draining the Pond of Montady.


Visited great canal side winery with a most hospitable owner , explained his wine making business down through the generations with perfect english. Arrived too late in Capestang to eat at any decent restaurant. Ended up eating on the north side of the canal at a pizzeria with awful bathrooms and no CC machine. I had mussels on the half shell that were pretty good, might have been canned dill sauce on the mussels.
Next morning shopping revealed all the good restaurants we missed. The local market has excellent Roquefort and wine.
Loved the architecture of this old village, looks like a lot of winter vacation estates for the rich French. The church is amazing for a small village, with it's gargoyles and towers. Very friendly people.
Salleles-d Aude
After leaving Capestang at port Robine we head southward on the Canal De Jonction towards Narbonne. Another aqueduct over the river Cesse is crossed with picturesque sights below.
Saleles-d Aude is, clean little village where we spend the night. The lock is in the middle of town.
Narbonne is my favorite town of this trip.
Architecture is great.
Dining is great.
Scenery cannot be topped.
Indoors village flea market was the best.

Pastry shops with the word artist added to the sign have the best goodies .
There were a few bums that bothered the boats if anchored near the center of town at night. But anchoring there during the day is fine. Bums probably hurt the downtown restaurant's night time business (we moved upstream, and ate pasta  the second night).
The same Roman road that served L'Oppidum d'Enserune (Via Domitia) is evident in Narbonne. In fact the center piece of the town square is an excavated section of  the Via Domitia.
Impressive church with an interesting history also.
Great place to sample everyday French culture without being in a tourist trap atmosphere.
Wondering what the big chicken on top of the war memorial represents.
WebCam link for Narbonne

Port la Robine

Le Somail
Ventenac En 
Argens Minervois



Back up the Canal De Jonction crossing the River cesse aqueduct. Bought some diesel from Chad , a British guy that has a nice canal side business.  Had a great dinner in Homps ,  seating was outdoors with the perfect temperature.
Came across a lock keeper who carved wooden sculptures , some were anti mated with motors and and motion detectors.

Trebes / Carcassonne
Link to site with a great guided tour of Carcassonne

Made it to Trebs before the locks closed. Took a taxi to Carcassonne. Returned to Trebs late that night. Finished cruising into Carcassonne the next morning. Arrived to late for the English language tour of the Carcassonne Chateau, but had a wonderful tour by the cutest and most enthusiastic tour guide in Southern France. I only understood about every 10th word, but I would go back for another tour with her any day. Wish I would have done my homework on the architecture, so I could tell the restored parts from the original.

Very pretty lock keeper.
Our bicycle scouts find a restaurant that is a mile away. Kye had no problem keeping up with her crutches.


The final stop on our voyage.
This a large port with a lake to store water required to work the locks downstream.
We noticed a constant wind blowing in the afternoon. Also along the shore were a couple of round 3 - 4 story buildings.
Found out later that these round structures were, what is left of windmills that lined the shore.
Excellent pastry shops and stores. Found out that our Air France flight is canceled by a one day only strike, will have to rough it on the train.

Very pleasant train ride, had plenty of wine and snacks for the trip.
Returned to the Comfort Inn next to CDG with their fabulous French Buffet.