From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, a history that goes with the flow of the water…
Many generations had cherished the dream of connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Not until 1681 did this dream become reality and when it did, it was thanks to the willpower and the genius of someone born in the Pays d’Oc, “Nostre Riquet” (‘our Riquet’): Pierre Paul Riquet. This adventure would not have been possible without the imagination, the determination and the enthusiasm of this man. The “genius” he applied was simply to feed the Canal with the water from the streams flowing down the Montagne Noire.
In October 1666, by Royal Edict, Louis XIV ordered the construction of the “Canal of navigation and communication between the two Seas, Ocean and Mediterranean”. Riquet invested his own fortune and took the construction work of the Canal upon himself. The construction was carried out in record time. For 14 years, in charge of a 12 000 strong “army” of workmen, he built the astonishing reservoir of Saint-Ferréol and overcame all of the difficulties involved, creating 328 works of art: locks, bridges (Le Somail), aqueducts, tunnels (Malpas), an épanchoir (a sort of culvert, TN) (Patiasses), etc over a total length of 240 km.
The Canal is registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.