A barge with a view on the vineyards
Above all, it was the wheat trade which spurred on its construction. The economic trade between the Aquitaine and Languedoc regions needed to be promoted. In the 18th Century, the wine industry had not yet managed to take full advantage of the commercial possibilities this exceptional waterway had to offer – the full commercial potential would be realized in the course of the following century.
The port of Homps was one of the most important ports of the Canal, seeing as it offered the barges the possibility to manoeuvre. A great number of merchants settled in Homps from where the wines of the Corbières and the Minervois shipped for Sète or Bordeaux.
The Pont-Canal du Répudre, on the territory of the village of Paraza, is the first pont-canal (navigable aqueduct) built in France (1676). Its construction mobilized up to 400 workmen. It made it possible for the Canal du Midi to cross the Répudre river.
The Pech Laurier lock in Argens-Minervois(lien sur la page de la commune du site PTCM) marks the westernmost limit of this long reach totalling almost a quarter of the entire Canal, which is 54,2 km. This lock is one of 64 on the Canal du Midi.
These days, the barges sail on the Canal’s green waters for its charm. The Canal du Midi is not looking for those who are in a hurry! The towpaths are ideal for a moment of peace and quiet, whether you take them by bike or on foot. Then there are the locks, the navigable aqueducts, etc. All these remind us of the humility and the patience man must have shown in the face of this exceptional monument.