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This part of the route is paved. Follow bike path on north side of Canal Du Midi.
Ecluse de Aiguesvives, 1670. Single lock since 1978, double lock before that. Km 28.11 Height: 4.44 m. Modernization of the Canal Du Midi took place in the 1970’s, when commercial freight was still being moved along on boats. These changes affected the locks between Toulouse and Aiguesvives and the locks between Agde and Beziers. The main objective was to allow larger boats to use the Canal Du Midi, so that they could move more freight at once. Thus several locks were changed from double to single locks, with the new single lock being longer. The modernization of the Canal Du Midi was stopped in 1978. Thus all locks between Aiguesvives and Beziers are still in their original states.
Ayguesvives name is Occitan and means "abundant waters." There were 3 creeks that passed through the village, and every house used to have its own water well in the kitchen.
Aquaduc d’Aiguesvives, 1687. Km 29. Also called the Pont Canal de Ticaille. Build by Vauban and not Paul Riquet. It allows a small stream, the l’Amadou, to flow underneath the Canal Du Midi. When Paul Riquet had build the Canal Du Midi he feared that there would not be enough water to feed the entire canal using just the man-made lake of St Ferreol in the Black Mountains. Thus whenever a small creek would cross the Canal Du Midi, Paul Riquet did his best to make that creek water join the canal as well. But this creek water also brought with it a lot of sand! So much sand in fact that by 1685 the Canal Du Midi was half full of sand and mud! This was such a large problem, that people started to talk about abandoning the Canal Du Midi altogether. The king of the time, Louis XIV, however send one of his engineers over to look at the problem. This engineer was called Vauban. And Vauban concluded that building small aqueducts and spillways would make the Canal Du Midi navigable again. Work was started immediately after his report was completed, including the construction of 49 small aqueducts.
Ecluse du Sanglier, 1673. Double lock. Km 29.612 Height: 3.73 m. An ancient bridge in small red bricks crossed the Canal Du Midi at this lock as well. Sanglier means boar in French, and this lock was named as such because the construction workers at the time caught and ate a wild boar at this location.
Encons Aqueduct, 1689. Km 30.3 French: Aqueduc d’Encons. This landmark actually has a facebook page! It carries the canal over a small stream, the Ruisseau des Mals. Build by Vauban.
Pont d’En Serny, bridge. Km 32. Build by Paul Riquet. Destroyed during the Napoleonic wars, the bridge was restored to its original state in 1821.
Ecluse de Negra, single lock. Km 33.315 Height: 4 m. First stop for the ancient mail/passenger boat during the 17th century. It is here that the mail boat passengers had their lunch. These passengers could also make use of a tavern and a chapel located at this lock. There also was an ice house here, but it is no longer there. The chapel can be visited and is located next to the lock. Stables for the horses were also located here. Video. This lock was also featured in one of the first French color movies, a film called “La Veuve Couderc.” This film was made by Pierre Granier-Deferre in 1971, and has multiple scenes of this lock and the Canal Du Midi.
Aqueduc de Negra, also known as Aqueduc de la Thésauque. Km 33.4. 1687. Towpath bridge.
If you are in Baziege you might see a weird tower, about 8 meters high. This tower was used to guide mail planes (aeropostale) from France to Senegal in Africa. They were used between the 1st and 2nd world war. Each tower would function like a light house, sending out a morse code with its light beam. These lights were turned on by a man in the village whenever he got a call from the control center in Perpignan. Airplanes would follow these signals all the way to Africa. Only a handful exist to this day: Baziège, Montferrand, Lézignan, and Sallèles-d'Aude.
Baziege has a market every saturday morning on the Grande Rue. About 18 merchants. Centre-ville. This market dates from the year 1000, when salt from the Mediterranean Sea was brought on donkeys and sold here. Later, when the Canal Du Midi was finished, cereals became as important to this market. The market was situated on the crossing of two medieval routes.
Ayguesvives: Wednesday mornings.
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