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To be seen around the village of Colombiers

The dried lake of Montady

The 13th century was the golden age for the reclamation of land from lakes in the Languedoc and throughout France. The land thus gained from the marshes was used to feed an ever increasing population. Four land owners (three lords and a notary from Béziers) decided on the reclamation with the approval of the archbishop of Narbonne.

A series of 60 drainage ditches in the shape of a star carries the water from the periphery to the centre. From the central part an open ditch, constructed with a reverse slope, carries all the water from the lake, every moment of every day, to the butte du Malpas into which it is fed by means of an aqueduct of almost 1.5 km, before finally pouring into the Aude after having crossed the ancient lakes of Poilhes and Capestang.

The "Malpas" tunnel

Of all the engineering works featured along the Canal du Midi, the work of the genial Pierre-Paul Riquet (17th century), the Malpas tunnel is one of the most spectacular. For the first time a navigable canal passed through a mountain. In 1683, the learned mathematician, Matthieu de Mourgues, expressed his amazement in a letter to Colbert : “The Malpas, Monsieur, is the most beautiful place in the world!”

The Oppidum of Ensérune

The site of Ensérune is an oppidum (fortified Gaul village), and one of the most important in the Mediterranean Midi. Excavations conducted between 1915 and 1967 revealed remains of different settlements ranging from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD.

Most of the material is presented in the museum.

La cave du château de Colombiers, foudres en chêne, cave vinicole, Etang asséché de Montady et Colombiers, etang asséché au 13eme siècle, les trois tunnels d'Ensérune, la voie Domitienne, Via Domitia, bornes militaires, promenade autour de Colombiers, Sites Majeur, Sites d'exceptions, Cœur du Languedoc, Tour médiévale du château de Montady, site archéologique et musée d'Ensérune, Oppidum d'Ensérune, village de hauteur, gallo-romain, gaulois, tunnel du malpas, galerie d'évacuation étang de Montady, Maison du Malpas, randonnées pédestre, histoire du Canal du Midi, Pierre Paul Riquet, village de Colombiers

Some history:

The Canal du Midi is a 241 km (150 mi) long canal in Southern France . Originally named the Canal royal en Languedoc (Royal Canal in Languedoc) and renamed by French revolutionaries to Canal du Midi in 1789, the canal was at the time considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century.

The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean and along with the 193 km (120 mi) long Canal de Garonne forms the Canal des Deux Mers, joining the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Étang de Thau near the Mediterranean.

Strictly speaking, "Canal du Midi" refers to the portion initially constructed from Toulouse to the Mediterranean — the Deux-Mers canal project aimed to link together several sections of navigable waterways to join the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: first the Canal du Midi, then the Garonne which was more or less navigable between Toulouse and Bordeaux, then the Garonne Lateral Canal built later, and finally the Gironde estuary after Bordeaux.

Designed to serve the wheat trade, Jean-Baptiste Colbert authorized the start of work by royal edict in October, 1666. Under the supervision of Pierre-Paul Riquet, construction lasted from 1666 to 1681, during the reign of Louis XIV. The Canal du Midi is one of the oldest canals of Europe still in operation (the prototype being the Briare Canal). The challenges in these works are closely related to the challenges of river transport today. The key challenge, raised by Pierre-Paul Riquet, was to convey water from the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) to the Seuil de Naurouze, the highest point of the canal.

It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

+33 (0)7 68 930 938

Some history...

The Canal du Midi is a 241 km (150 mi) long canal in Southern France . Originally named the Canal royal en Languedoc (Royal Canal in Languedoc) and renamed by French revolutionaries to Canal du Midi in 1789, the canal was at the time considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century.

The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean and along with the 193 km (120 mi) long Canal de Garonne forms the Canal des Deux Mers, joining the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Étang de Thau near the Mediterranean.

Strictly speaking, "Canal du Midi" refers to the portion initially constructed from Toulouse to the Mediterranean — the Deux-Mers canal project aimed to link together several sections of navigable waterways to join the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: first the Canal du Midi, then the Garonne which was more or less navigable between Toulouse and Bordeaux, then the Garonne Lateral Canal built later, and finally the Gironde estuary after Bordeaux.

Designed to serve the wheat trade, Jean-Baptiste Colbert authorized the start of work by royal edict in October, 1666. Under the supervision of Pierre-Paul Riquet, construction lasted from 1666 to 1681, during the reign of Louis XIV. The Canal du Midi is one of the oldest canals of Europe still in operation (the prototype being the Briare Canal). The challenges in these works are closely related to the challenges of river transport today. The key challenge, raised by Pierre-Paul Riquet, was to convey water from the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) to the Seuil de Naurouze, the highest point of the canal.

It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.