This is the western part of the Canal du Midi. It is from the Naurouze watershed, located in this area, that the parting of the waters occurs. From this point, the water descends the slopes towards the Atlantic Ocean to the west, or toward the Mediterranean Sea to the east. These Montagne Noire (Black Mountain) waters feed the Canal du Midi at this, its highest point, through the Rigole de le Plaine (feeder canal).
Traces of its history have been found in the area, from the 2nd century BC onward. Those interested in more information can visit the Maison de l’Archéologie (archaeology museum).
Not to miss : Les Circulades (circular city center), 13th century Gothic church. Bike path between the Canal du Midi and the city center.
Market : Wednesday mornings.
Crossing Castelnaudary was not initially planned in Riquet’s project because of the significant additional costs that would ensue, like for the crossing of Carcassonne. The canal was to go around the village, but unlike Carcassonne, the consuls agreed to take on the extra costs, estimating that over the long term the city would benefit from having a port on the canal. And it’s a good thing they did, because thanks to this investment, the town would experience a booming economy and an unprecedented prosperity.
Castelnaudary became the capital of Lauragais and the main port between Sète and Toulouse. Many transit activities developed over time: pottery, wood, wine and especially flour passed through its port before being distributed throughout the southwest of France.
Of the thirty mills working at the time of the flour trade, only one remains, fully restored :"Le Moulin de Cugarel" from the 17th century.
Not to miss : Collégiale Saint Michel (collegiate church), Musée du Lauragais (museum). Market on Mondays.
Castelnaudary was the third “couchée”, or nighttime layover, on voyages from Agde and the first on voyages from Toulouse for the postal boats. The “couchées” took place on the banks of the Grand Bassin, near the Ecluse Saint Roch. The large reservoir of Castelnaudary provided an important stop on the route of the Canal du Midi and served as a stop for many barges and pleasure boats.
In the summer: delivery service for hot cassoulet on the canal from June to September and activities on the port.
Place de la République, 11400 Castelnaudary
Website - tel : 04 68 23 05 73.
March through June and October, Monday to friday: 9:30 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (until 5 p.m. on March and October), Saturday : 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
July, August and September: 9:30 a.m. to 1p.m./ 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
November through February, Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to noon/ 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities.
Boat Rides in Castelnaudary
Le Saint Roch
20 Quai Du Port, 11400 Castelnaudary
Website - tel : 04 68 23 49 40.
Boat rental by the day or longer in Castelnaudary
Le Grand Bassin, 11400 Castelnaudary
Website - tel : 04 68 94 42 80.
Also located in Portiragnes, Trebes, and Narbonne Homps. Rentals from two days to two weeks. Departure possible from many ports along the canal. This company has the largest fleet of rental boats.