When thinking about the ideal place to take a canal holiday in France, the ancient walled city of Carcassonne could surely be near the top of the list.
This city, popular with those on canal boat holidays due to its ideal location next to the Canal du Midi, is brimming with culture and stunning architecture, with parts of the old town designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Carcassonne can be found in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, in the south of the country.
Using one of the midi canal boat hire firms in this area is perfect for seeing France from a different perspective and can help you really relax on a break to the country. Instead of negotiating foreign roads behind the feel of an unfamiliar hire car, why not take a midi canal holiday and allow the most beautiful parts of the countryside to float past?
And the walled city of Carcassonne is certainly a stunning place to see on a canal boat break. The ancient part of the area is an architectural gem, boasting some three kilometres of town battlements, 52 towers and a huge fort. In the old part of town there is also a wide range of craft shops ideal for picking up a souvenir or two to remind you of your trip to France.
Just over 100 people live in the ancient part of the city and a visit here can sometimes feel like taking a step back into another century.
The fort area is linked to the rest of Carcassonne by the Pont Vieux, which passes over the river Aude. In other parts of town there is much to see and do, including the former home of famous poet Joe Bousquet. Memorial House is home to permanent exhibitions which showcases the wordsmith’s writing as well as the works of his contemporaries in the French art and poetry scene.
Art buffs may also want to head to the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, which boasts fabulous pieces of art spanning three centuries. Both of these attractions are free to enter and so there is certainly no reason not to visit them on a canal boat holiday to France.
While in the city, be sure to head to the St Nazarius Basilica. This church is hundreds of years old and houses some truly beautiful stained glass windows, which are a stunning sight in the French sun. Inside the church is also the tomb of Bishop Guihem Razouls of Radulphe. His final resting place is surrounded by 12 intricately carved statues as well as a hidden sculpture depicting a smiling angel.
The church also has some interesting friezes which are worth a look. On a canal boat holiday to France, the Canal du Midi is certainly the best waterway to head down, as its long length and location make it ideal for exploring some of the best parts of the country.
The canal flows all the way from the city of Toulouse to the port town of Sete, in the south of the country. The waterway is around 150 miles long and all along its length there are fascinating towns and villages as well as ancient bridges and other sights. The views of the French countryside afforded to those who sail a canal boat down the canal are second to none and a relaxing sailing holiday is a great way of getting to see as much of the country as possible.
Whichever type of canal boat you require on a boating holiday to France, you are sure to be able to find it. Whether you are planning on taking a relaxing river cruise with your partner, or whether you need a larger boat which can accommodate children or more than two people, there are plenty of options available.
Hiring a canal boat to explore France gives you the chance to tailor a break to your needs and can also afford you total flexibility to spend as little or as much time in each place as you like. And you are sure to want to spend a good few days exploring the ancient walled city of Carcassonne, which is certainly a sight to behold.