Canal du Midi – Cruzy to Argeliers

The Canal du Midi is a walker's paradise, with hundreds of kilometres of flat towpaths, shaded by avenues of centuries-old plane trees, running through wheat fields and vineyards and passing through lovely mediaeval villages dotted with restaurants, ancient churches, and mansion houses. canal-du-midicanal-du-midiThe Solo Lady Traveller had a wonderful lunch on the terrace of the Auberge de la Croisade at Cruzy; this is one of the few good restaurants I have found in the Languedoc in an old eclusiers (lock-keeper's) cottages. A superb three course "menu" and wine on a glorious day cost about €25; the garden around the terrace was sparkling with flowers and the occasional boat passed slowly by on the canal leaving a gentle wake curling along the banks; the general sense of well-being was profound. canal-du-midi-cruzyAfter lunch one can go for a stroll on the restaurant side of the canal, which offers an excellent chance for a private post-lunch nap on the grassy bank; or you can cross the lock and walk the 6.4km along the towpath to Argeliers. I have done both. canal-du-midi-cruzyThe path was easy to walk on, being two wheel-tracks in firm white sand on the old towpath, so it was very flat, and quiet; a couple of times on the walk a cyclist pedalled by, and once or twice a boat purred past; of course, during the Sacred Hour of Lunch many locks on the canal were closed, and all sensible people were sleeping off their lunch, so you would not expect it to be busy. The silence was almost stunning; the wheat fields glowed in the midday sun, but in the shade of the plane trees was cool and  pleasantly damp. Canal-de-midiThe walk was an easy 6.4km stroll, which took me past a couple of moored boats, and several dilapidated-looking boats which someone was restoring, or had once intended to restore, and which appeared to be quietly dissolving into the canal. The stillness and serenity, marred only by occasional car in the distance, or a bird calling, or a couple of cicadas churring about the midday warmth, surrounded me and made time seem to stand motionless. canal-du-mid-argeliersI did not actually know the name of the village I was heading towards when I left the Auberge de la Croisade, only that it was about 6km away. I saw a bridge ahead, and as I got closer I saw a sign on the eclusier's  cottage, Le Chat Qui Pêche. This was a restaurant I remembered from my time spent in this area in another life. I had utterly forgotten the name of the village it was in, and never expected to find it again; it felt as though I had somehow walked back two decades in the stillness and sunshine. The restaurant was closed, which seemed appropriate. So I found myself at pretty little Argeliers. A walk in the countryside of France can take you many places. canal-du-midi-argeliers  
Like this?
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+