Canal du Midi, between cruises and boat hire without a licence

Le Canal du Midi avec un bateau sans permis

Fancy a trip around Toulouse? Then discover the Canal du Midi, between cruises and boat hire!

Europe’s royal waterway of river tourism, the Canal du Midi awakens the imagination and evokes, in a matter of seconds, the sweetness of life. Some follow its voluptuous curves by bike, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Others follow it on foot, in small sections.

But those who make the best choice are probably those who travel it just as its creator imagined… by boat! But fear not. Designed for boaters of all levels, the Canal du Midi offers a wide range of possibilities.

These include boat hire without a license. Whether you’re a couple, a family or a group of friends, suspend time at the gateway to the Midi. Our river cruises can be taken over two days or a week, giving you the chance to recharge your batteries!

The Canal du Midi in a nutshell

Location de bateau sans permis : Toulouse

Photo credit: Shutterstock – thieury

Did you know that all this splendor earned the Canal du Midi the nickname « Canal Royal du Languedoc » in the time of Louis XIV? So, if we’re talking about geniuses past on Earth, let’s mention Pierre-Paul Riquet: the designer – surely a great dreamer too – of this exceptional canal.

He imagined these waters meandering under the southern French sun, protected by the shade of plane trees, cypresses and umbrella pines. Unwavering, refreshing silhouettes, also watching over the sailors… The Canal du Midi thus flows, between endemic vineyards and black mountains, along a landscape dotted with historic villages.

Far from being selfish, this beautiful trickling stream also leaves room for other bodies of water such as ponds or beaches!

The most beautiful river cruises on the Canal du Midi

Nicols is a specialist in boat hire and river vacations, offering a wide range of routes on the Canal du Midi.

Here we’ve selected three themed and varied escapes. During your cruise, you’ll be free to stop as you please: in remote countryside or on the quayside in lively cities. Something for everyone!

For a weekend: the gastronomic escape

Location de bateau sans permis : Pour une mini-semaine : l’escale viticole

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No epicurean or connoisseur of fine dining is unaware of the flavors of the Midi. Along its emblematic canal, local gastronomy and wines take boaters on a journey of their own. From the terraces of small cafés, in the heart of picturesque markets or by the water’s edge in a Michelin-starred restaurant, gastronomic escapes abound.

This weekend, combining the pleasures of water and food, begins in Port Lauragais, between Toulouse and Carcassonne. You’ll discover the unmissable cassoulet de Lauragais and the array of duck specialties typical of the town. Magrets, confits, terrines, foies gras: it’s Christmas before time!

In this small marina, you can also enjoy a glass of Fronton wine. A few hours’ sailing later, you’ll reach the Seuil de Naurouze and its hikes, inviting you to stretch your legs and… digest a little!

Finally, there’s Castelnaudary at the end of your Canal du Midi cruise. The city that also boasts cassoulet. This watery town with its deliciously faded facades is even more famous for its dried beans, duck confit, sausages and bacon. As a souvenir, why not try a traditional Ségala pottery, in which the mythical cassoulet is prepared? This little village is also on your route to and from the town.

For a mini-week: the wine stopover

Location de bateau sans permis : Pour une mini-semaine : l’escale viticole

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The Canal du Midi, from Le Somail to Marseillette, has a lot to offer. With its architectural gems, untouched river heritage, picturesque ports, vineyards and gourmet delights, this cruise will take you on a whirlwind of experiences.

Your barge awaits you in the time-fixed hamlet of Somail. You then sail to the vineyards of the village of Ventenac-en-Minervois. Set in an amphitheatre on a hill with exceptional panoramic views, it’s the ideal place to discover the local nectars.

Then glide along the meandering river to Paraza, its castle and its famous Répudre bridge-canal, the oldest in France. In need of gustatory delights? Here you are in Roubia, land of olive oil producers. Looking for a postcard landscape? The bucolic perched village of Argens-Minervois will enchant you!

Need to take a dip? Head for Lake Jouarres in Homps. History buffs? You’ll find yourself at La Redorte, a remarkable river building, then at Puichéric, famous for its church and fortifications. Finish off with a delicious meal in the land of rice: Marseillette. Here, you’ll rediscover the unsuspected local tradition of rice-growing.

For a week: the medieval escapade

Pour une semaine : l’escapade médiévale

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Do we still need to introduce you to Carcassonne, the famous medieval city? Sail away to its timeless charms and unspoiled cultural riches. Along the way, your escape unfolds in a succession of ever-changing wonders… Green vineyards of the Minervois, historic canal bridges and locks, regional and – scandalously – delicious dishes: the show is on every moment!

Your departure base, Le Somail, is imbued with a picturesque, romantic atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to set the mood. Sail on to the gourmet wine lands of Ventenac-en-Minervois. Next, the cruise takes on the airs of a historic journey through the villages of Paraza, Argens-Minervois, Homps, La Redorte and Puichéric. They are home to the country’s oldest canal bridge, castles overlooking vineyards, lakes and garrigues, picturesque harbours, remarkable monuments and precious lock-sculptor works.

Along the way, you’ll also discover Roubia and Marseillette: two jewels in the crown of local gastronomy, cradles of regional grape varieties, olive oil and rice. Mid-week, disembark in Trèbes. This enchanting town offers pleasant waterside restaurants, beautiful Gothic buildings and river monuments still in their original state.

But the highlight of your cruise is undoubtedly your arrival in Carcassonne. This medieval nugget, a stone’s throw from the Canal du Midi, boasts miles of ramparts, fortified walls and a host of gates and towers. In 1997, these records earned the town a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This exceptional and imposing setting is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories!

The Canal du Midi with a no-licence boat

Le Canal du Midi avec un bateau sans permis

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Would you like to rent a boat without a license on the Canal du Midi? Nicols offers you no less than 27 models of boat for this destination. Your choice of boat depends first and foremost on the number of people on board (from 2 to 12), but also on your vision of the trip!

To make your Canal du Midi cruise a success, Nicols experts will guide you towards the best choice from among five ranges. Fly, Estivale, Confort, Sedan or Riviera: the entire fleet boasts spacious living areas and comfortable, safe equipment for easy maneuvering. Depending on the range, the no-license boats offer more upmarket features: double sundeck, swimming pool, private bathroom, air-conditioning, fitted decks, etc.

To navigate the Canal du Midi, here are the different options:

  • Fly licence-free boats designed for 4 to 10 yachtsmen, depending on the model;
  • Estivale no-licence boats designed for 2 to 10 yachtsmen depending on the model;
  • Comfort boats designed for 5 to 10 boaters, depending on the model;
  • Sedan no-license boats designed for 2 to 12 boaters, depending on the model.

Every model of licence-free boat offers on-board WiFi. You can also enjoy bicycles, barbecues or relaxing sunbathing.

Nicols can help you prepare for your cruise from A to Z. Before your departure, our teams will send you a captain’s manual, various navigation guides and inventory sheets. You can even call on the services of a tourist guide dedicated to the Canal du Midi!

So, are you ready to get on board with Nicols?