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The Canal de Garonne

The Canal de Garonne, created much later than the famed Canal du Midi, runs alongside the mighty Garonne River for 193 kilometres. Dotted with 53 locks and several other remarkable related constructions, including the daring canal-bridges at Agen and Moissac, today this canal is shadowed by a beautiful, unbroken greenway accessible to all.

The final link in the canal chain joining Atlantic to Mediterranean

the canal de garonne, the final link chain joining atlantic to mediterranean

Built in the 19th century, the Canal de Garonne, also known as the Canal Latéral à la Garonne, was made to take over from where the great Canal du Midi left off. So the Canal de Garonne links Toulouse to Castets-en-Dorthe (nr Langon), allowing boats to travel via canals between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic quite avoiding the turbulent currents of the Garonne River.
 

Pierre-Paul Riquet, the celebrated engineer who designed the Canal du Midi between Sète and Toulouse in the 17th century, had already envisaged further works to create a canal link to the Atlantic. The realization of the idea had to wait two centuries. Leading engineer Jean-Baptiste de Baudre oversaw the project at the outset. Work began simultaneously at several points, with thousands of workers employed to construct the 193km of canal. The section from Toulouse to Agen was completed in 1850, that between Agen and Castets-en-Dorthe in 1856, after 17 years of work.

The Canal de Garonne in figures

  • 193km in length
  • 17 years of work (1838 - 1856)
  • 143 architectural features, including 53 locks, 83 bridges et 7 canal-bridges
  • Opened to traffic: 1856
 

The Canal de Garonne runs along beside the great river for 193km, dotted with 53 locks and many canal-bridges, including the celebrated Pont-Canal d’Agen, the second-longest canal-bridge in France, built entirely of cut stone.
 

Designed to cater to commercial barges, for which it was specifically designed, what with its straight lines, the Canal de Garonne soon had to compete with the new railway line linking Bordeaux to Toulouse, which was also inaugurated in 1856.
 

Canal and river tourism took over in earnest in the 1970s, with pleasure craft transporting tourists into exceptional natural and historic settings.

 

Today, you can cycle alongside the Canal de Garonne along the whole of its length, between Castets-en-Dorthe (nr Langon, southeast of Bordeaux) and Toulouse, going via Agen, Moissac, Montech and many other ports.

The route following the Canal de Garonne