It is always hard to leave these great bed and breakfasts. I want to stay for a few days, just enjoying them without having to leave after one night, but this time is not always possible.
Our petit déjeuné, bicycles ready, and a quick visit to Bram and his weekly market before going back to canal du midi.
The market and the town are small, but big enough to find an archeological museum. Unfortunately it was closed!
So we concentrated on the market, the colorful produces
and the friendly marchands.
I wanted to buy one tomato for lunch. I asked the price and the vendeur gave me the tomato as a gift, then he explained the different kinds he grows and gave me another one. The second one was a variety I’ve never seen before, and ate it on the spot, just like a juicy apple (or a juicy tomato).
The weather had improved. I could see the sun wanting to come out in the distance, so we decided to follow it.
During our cycling, stopping to chat with the locals, we learned that Pierre-Paul Riquet, the amazing creator of the Canal du Midi in the 17th century, is not very known in France. Kids do not learn about him in school, which is a shame because the man was brilliant!
We arrived at Castelnaudary, the main port of the Canal du Midi. It is the largest open area of water in the canal.
We kept going, now with the sun on our back, enjoying the weather and the lack of wind!
Once again we reached our destination, Labastide d’Anjou, right before the sun went down. Our nose took us to Hostellerie d’EtienneHostellerie d’Etienne, a place with simple rooms, bathrooms larger than the bedrooms, and a big restaurant filed with the amazing aroma of the house cassoulet. The problem was that our stomachs weren’t ready for such a large plate for carnivores. (I must come back). Instead we went for the salad de chèvre, the foie gras, and dessert of course!
Yes, this time I did make it to dessert, mousse de chocolate, never as good as Olivier Dekeyser mousse
After a wonderful meal, a wonderful night asleep.
Good night everyone!
Riquet is the man responsible for building the 240-kilometer-long artificial waterway that links the southern coast of France to Toulouse to link to the canal/river system that ran across to the Bay of Biscay, one of the great engineering feats of the 17th century. The logistics were immense and complex, so much so that other engineers including the ancient Romans had discussed the idea but not proceeded with it. Even so, Louis XIV was keen for the project to proceed, largely because of the increasing cost and danger of transporting cargo and trade around southern Spain where pirates were common.
Planning, financing, and construction of the Canal du Midi completely absorbed Riquet from 1665 forward. Numerous problems occurred, including navigating around many hills and providing a system that would feed the canal with water through the dry summer months. Advances in lock engineering and the creation of a 6 million cubic meter artificial lake—the Bassin de St. Ferréol — provided solutions.
The high cost of construction depleted Riquet’s personal fortune and the seemingly insurmountable problems caused his sponsors, including Louis XIV, to lose interest. The canal was completed in 1681, eight months after Riquet’s death.