Canal du Midi: the Story of a masterpiece
The Canal du Midi or Canal des Deux Mers ("Canal of the Two Seas) is a French canal that connects the Garonne to the Mediterranean. It provides, with the canal lateral to the Garonne river, a navigable waterway from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It was extended to Sète by the Canal du Rhône. Originally named the "royal canal" in the Languedoc, the revolutionaries renamed it the "Canal du Midi" in 1789.
It was considered to be the largest engineering project of the 17th century.
The main motive for its construction was the transport of wheat.
Built between 1666 and 1681, under the reign of Louis XIV, under the supervision of Pierre-Paul Riquet, the Canal du Midi is the oldest canal in Europe that is still operational.
The implementation of the project was closely linked to the issues of modern river navigation.
The challenge for Riquet was to route water from the Montagne Noire to the Seuil de Naurouze, the highest point in the canal's course. It was classified as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996.