With many stores and attractions in Toulouse being closed on Sundays, we thought it would be a perfect day for a walk along the banks of the Canal du Midi. The canal dates back to the 17th century and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Running for about 241 km, it links Toulouse with the Mediterranean Sea. It varies between 16-20 metres wide and is about 2 metres deep.
We walked in an easterly direction from our apartment (located near Le Capitole) until we reached the canal., Then we turned left and walked along the canal in a counter-clockwise direction, taking a side-trip to visit the Jardin Japonais as we passed. We followed the canal until it ended at the Port de L’embouchure and then we followed the Canal de Brienne until it reached the Garonne River. From the river, we returned to the vicinity of Le Capitole. The whole journey took 2.5 hours and covered approximtely 4.5 miles.
The canal provides a very pleasant walking route and is used by locals for cycling, jogging and dog-walking. In several areas, there is a nice canal path that is separated from the road. There were a number of canal locks along the canal that allow boats moving along the canal to ‘move uphill or down hill’ by raising or lowering the water level in the lock to match the water level on the opposite side.
Along the route of the canal, we reached the Jardin Compans-Caffarelli and detoured into the park to visit the Jardin Japonais (Japanese Garden). A sign at the entrance asks visitors to respect the serenity of this beautiful garden. The garden includes a tea pavilion that has areas for meditation, and a porch that provides a peaceful view over the koi pond to the red bridge. It’s a lovely garden-within-a-garden and is worth a visit.
The larger garden of Compans-Caffarelli was also worth walking around. There is a nice lake with a fountain, various sculptures scattered around the park/garden and the song-birds in the trees contributed to a pleasant experience. There is also a children’s playground and a small snack shop.
After visiting the park, we resumed our walk along the canals, until we reached the Garonne River.
The canal provided a nice walking route with some nice scenery. Definitely recommended to anyone looking for a walking or cycling route whilst in Toulouse.