Musée et Jardin du Canal du Midi

Top choice in Toulouse, Gers & Vallée du Tarn

Understand France’s mightiest man-made waterway, the Unesco World Heritage Canal du Midi, through illuminating exhibitions and short films at this museum 60km southeast of Toulouse. The 241km canal, from Toulouse to the southern port of Sète, was constructed in the 17th century under master engineer Pierre-Paul Riquet to boost Languedoc’s wheat and wine trade with a route bypassing the Spanish-controlled Strait of Gibraltar. These days, most of the wine on the canal is sipped by tourists cruising past its willow-fringed banks.

Follow the stairs to the left of the museum entrance to the Jardins de Saint-Ferréol for a post-museum stroll. Originally created for irrigation purposes, these 18th-century gardens gained a more ornamental feel in the decades that followed, with stone trails over babbling water and a pretty cascade.

The museum is between Toulouse and Castres, south of Revel off the D622.

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