The Canal du Midi was constructed in the early seventeenth century under the orders of King Louis XIV. At the time it was known as the Royal Canal and it gained its present name after the French Revolution. Louis was at war with Spain and they were charging France a huge tax to sail around the Rock of Gibraltar. He built the 150 mile long canal through southern France to avoid paying this tax. The canal is about sixty five feet wide and six and a half feet deep. It has 130 locks and was dug by shovel by 2000 French workers in ten years. That seems like an incredible achievement to me. I would not want to have been one of those 2000 workers!Portions of the canal are lined with plane trees as seen on the left bank. Unfortunately, many of the plane trees have died, necessitating 40,000 of them being cut down. Many of these have been replaced recently with a different variety of tree. We saw one section of the canal today where the new trees were being watered with a hose. When I asked what was causing the trees to die, I was told it was a fungus from America. After apologizing profusely, they said that pollution in the canal may also be contributing to the problem.There are a number of aquaducts along the canal.This is our boat moored for the night along the bank of the canal.There are a number of charming villages to explore along the canal.This group of buildings is painted on the perpendicular sides of two buildings. What looks very three dimensional here is in reality two flat walls. All the shadows and people are painted as well. It was really amazing.
We are halfway through our journey. The winds have been very strong the last two days which has made mooring challenging. We are increasing our skill at going through the locks. We will try to get some lock pictures, but we are pretty busy in the locks. Other than wind, the weather has been great.