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This part of the bicycle path along the Canal Du Midi is unpaved and will be muddy during or after rain.
Continue cycling along the south bank of the Canal Du Midi.
Ecluse Rond in Agde. Instead of continuing to follow the Canal Du Midi, you need to turn right onto Avenue Raymond Pitet. You should use the zebra pad to cross over this street and follow small unpaved path along waterway parallel to this road, because Avenue Raymond Pitet becomes a one way street.
Cross big bridge over the Herault River.
At first roundabout, take 2nd exit direction MARSEILLAN (road running parallel to the river, going upstream).
Go past big 3 story white building with a greenhouse and a large chimney in front of it on your left, next to the river. Immediately after this building, turn left onto CHEMIN DE LA VALLEE to get to small unpaved path next to the river.
Follow small unpaved path along the Herault River going upstream until you cannot go any further, which is when you run into the Canal Du Midi again.
Turn right to follow Canal Du Midi. At the lock
Continue on unpaved path along south bank of the Canal Du Midi all the way to its end at the Pointe des Onglous and its small lighthouse.
Carriere de basalte de Roque-Haute Ancient rock quarry in Vias, formed by a very small strombolian volcano. The volcano erupted last over 560 thousand years ago, making it the youngest volcano in the Languedoc region. These days it is a protected nature preserve with marshlands. Home to the very rare rough-haired fern plant. Access forbidden without prior approval.
Ouvrages sur le Libron, 1858. Km 225 On the Canal du Midi in Vias, between Béziers and Agde, Riquet encountered a big problem with the Libron. This Cévennes river, almost insignificant in normal times, swells excessively during the floods activated by melting snow and carries a large amount of alluvial deposits. Two good reasons for not mingling its waters with those of the canal. At this point, the mirror of the latter is only 1.95 m above sea level. The anchorage of the canal is 2 meters, which already is 5 centimeters below the level of the nearby sea. Due to the canal being so close to sea level, a canal bridge was out of the question. Riquet did not have time to solve the problem: he dies before he could solve it. For a century, we have been satisfied with a level crossing, with all its disadvantages. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century, an original system was conceived: the Ouvrages De Libron. The river now crosses the canal at two places instead of one. One of these river crossings is closed while a boat enters the area. Once the boat is inside the area, the river is diverted to run behind the boat while at the same time the river crossing in front of the boat is closed. Now the boat can pass the second river crossing and continue on its way.
Ouvrages sur le Libron
Ecluse de Bassin Rond, single lock. Km 231.476 Height 0.44 m. The oldest round lock in the world! Build out of the local black lava rock. There are 3 canals that meet at this lock, and each is at a different height. Oddly enough, the water in the canal that goes from here to the Herault River is the highest, and boats will have to be lifted up to join this canal. The canal going south to the port of Agde is at the lowest water level. And the canal going to Portiragnes is at the intermediate level. Thus the Herault River can supply the Canal Du Midi with water when needed, streaming its waters all the way upstream to Portiragnes.
Ecluse de Bassin Rond in Agde
Écluse de Prades, single lock. Km 232.9 Height Height 0 m. This lock is different from the other locks, as its main function is to avoid water from the Herault River to overflow into this branch of the Canal Du Midi. They are only closed and in use when the water in the river is high, like after heavy rainfall. During all other times this lock is open. In summer time there is a good restaurant located here.
La Guingette at the Ecluse de Prades in summer time. (google images)
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