The best and most readily available way to see what the Canal Du Midi looked like in the past is by collecting old postcards. Postcards are available at most antique stores and flea markets, often in old shoe boxes or in large flip albums. Interestingly enough, not much has changed when comparing old postcards of the Canal Du Midi to the present day. If you have any old postcards or have a picture of yourself at the same location as on the below postcards, please email them to this website.
As new pictures become available, they will be added to the images below to show the differences between about 100 years ago (the common age of a postcard) to today. The red arrow can be used to view the before and after picture, when available.
Postcards can be dated in several ways. The most obvious would be the stamp on the back. But if that stamp is missing or too hard to read, other methods exist.
The "carte postale" or postcard became legal in France in 1873. Photos on the postcards started appearing around 1897, so that is the oldest possible date for the images below. The first photos on postcards were very small, because space was needed for the message...the back of the postcard was reserved exclusively for the address.
If the back of the card is divided into two parts (the left for the message, the right for the address) the card dates from after December 1903. After this date, postcards were required to have a divided back side.
Thus to summarize, the oldest postcards have a small picture on the front and just an address on the back.
Please send us postcards if possible. They can be found in most antique shops and flea markets. The latter are especially good sources for them. Postcards should show the Canal Du Midi on them. Scans are best. Preferred settings: JPEG at 72 DPI. Even better would be if you could also try to take a picture of the postcard scene as it is today! Make sure that all angles match as the goal is always to try to duplicate the postcard to 99% accuracy.
Postcards from Toulouse to Carcassonne, including Revel and the Rigoles.
Postcards from Carcassonne to Narbonne, including Canal de la Jonction and Canal de la Robine.
Postcards from Narbonne to Sete, including Agde and Bassin de Thau.