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A Cruise on the Canal du Midi Duration : one week from Saturday to Saturday

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Start / Arrival : Le Somail / Port-Lauragais (One Way cruise)

Le Somail is situated halfway between Beziers and Carcassonne. Jewel of the Canal du Midi, the small port of Le Somail is also an invitation to take the time to live and simply enjoy. During your cruise, Heading West, the small Minervois villages arrive one after the other, scattered among the waterside vineyards, some of which offer wine-tastings; you'll soon be at Carcassonne, visiting its famous Citadel (set half a day aside to visit the town).

Situated halfway between Toulouse and Carcassonne, Port Lauragais is the point where the boat will be given back on the Canal du Midi. In Port Lauragais, discover the many treasures of the "Canal Royal du Languedoc", as it was known under Louis XIV’s reign.

A) How to get there by car :

From Wroclaw to Le Somail : 1760 km by Highway - 1rst day : (1020 km) WROCLAW- Dresden- Chemnitz – Nurnberg – Karlsruhe- Direction Base/ Mulhouse/ LYON (in Mulhouse, entrance to France) – BELFORT - 2nd day : (740 km) BELFORT – Montbeliard – Besancon – BEAUNE (1) – LYON (Follow MARSEILLE) – Valence (2) – ORANGE (3) – NIMES (A9) – Montpellier – NARBONNE (exit Highway 39 to Le Somail) to continue to Port Lauragias : go back on the motorway (Follow Toulouse A61) – Carcassonne (4) – Castelnaudary (EXIT HIGHWAY) – Port Lauragais

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During your trip, you will cross the following French Wines regions : (1) (2) (3) (4)

: Beaune : Burgundi (Chablis, Chambertin, Corton, Clos Vougeot,‌) : Cotes du Rhone : Gigondas, Chateau Neuf du Pape, : Cotes de Provence (stay in Salernes) : Minervois (Cruise Canal du Midi)

Route du go to Le SOMAIL

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to Le Somail :

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On the way to Le Somail, the best is to stop first and do some shopping for the crew. You can find a Supermarket Intermarche at Saint Marcel sur Aude : keep in mind that shops are often closed on Sundays in France.

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B) Canal du Midi : Overview, Rules and some Technical Data

Vineyards along the Canal du Midi (see DAY1 Homps town for more details and purchase of wines)

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Trip/day : 20 km /day - 5 hours cruise/day : 2 h in the morning (10-12 am) & 3 hours in the afternoon (2-5 pm) - average speed of 5 km/h

Speed on the Canal : max 8km/h When arriving to a lock, max 3 km/h

Time to cross a Lock : 6 mn / lock

Opening times of the Locks (Ecluses) :

Morning from 9 am Noon closed from 12.30 am to 13h30 pm Evening closed at 19h

Information Board at each lock, disclosing the distance to the next lock

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C) CRUISE ITINERARY : ± 60 km & 24 Locks from Port Lauragais to Carcassonne • D 0 : SATURDAY 27 June : Le Somail - Installation on board - Check the boat with the Boat Rental Company - Trial sailing with a skipper of the Boat Rental Company - Test the Thruster (right-left) - Check on board where the electricity cable and the watertube (to fill in the water tanks) are stored - Ask how and where to make the toilet used water tank empty. - Ask for the stuff needed to moore either on the ground or in harbours. Shopping for the crew (on Sundays, shops are often closed : have enough food from Saturday to Monday afternoon) : Le Somail : Intermarché Super 2 rue de mandosse, 11120 Saint-Marcel-sur-Aude, France Phone:+33 4 68 93 46 60 Open Saturday until 8 pm Open on Sunday from 9.30 am to 12 am. La peniche epiciere Allee de la glaciere, close to the bridge Open from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm every day

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D) Locks on the trip Port Lauragais to Carcassonne :

The list of the locks goes from Toulouse to the Mediterraneam sea. For travel from Le Somail to Port Lauragais, please start from the end of the table.

Day Trip

Lock Name

6

Océan Lock

6

Nber of chambers

Dist. From Toulouse

43.355309°N 1.818083°E

1

51.6

Méditerranée Lock

43.330160°N 1.861777°E

1

56.6

6

Roc Lock

43.328685°N 1.870472°E

2

57.5

6

Laurens Lock

43.325246°N 1.884968°E

3

58.7

6

Domergue Lock

43.323029°N 1.898843°E

1

59.7

1

60.9

6

Laplanque Lock

Coordinates

Last lock before Castelnaudary 6,8 meters water difference. Lock House built in 1672 (abandoned).

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5

Saint-Roch Lock (echelle)

After Castelnaudary, 4 locks together

4

65.4

5

Gay Lock

2 Locks together . Interesting :

2

67.1

5

Vivier Lock (echelle)

3 Locks in1

3

68.7

43.296145째N 1.999405째E

1

69.1

43.29320째N 2.00505째E

1

69.7

5 5

Guilhermin Lock Saint-Sernin Lock

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5

5 5 5 5 5

Guerre Lock

Peyruque Lock Criminelle Lock Tréboul Lock Villepinte Lock Sauzens Lock

43.290083°N 2.015755°E

1

70.6

43.286689°N 2.028383°E

1

71.7

43.28532°N 2.03417°E

1

72.2

43.280219°N 2.049757°E

1

73.6

43.274°N 2.09412°E

1

77.4

43.26544°N 2.10980°E

1

79

5

Bram Lock

43.25830°N 2.12011°E

1

80.3

4

Béteille Lock

43.235532°N 2.180042°E

1

85.9

4

Villeséquelan de Lock

43.234812°N 2.245796°E

1

93.4

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4

Lalande Lock

4

Herminis Lock

4

4

3 3 3

3

2

98.2

43.237300°N 2.288296°E

1

98.5

Ladouce Lock

43.229506°N 2.301099°E

1

99.9

Carcassonne Lock

43.217409°N 2.351585°E

1

105.5

43.232295°N 2.375039°E

1

108.0

2

108.8

43.240847°N 2.379621°E

1

109.0

43.235572°N 2.413292°E

1

112.6

Saint-Jean Lock Fresquel Double Lock Fresquel Single Lock

Evêque Lock

2 locks in 1

2 locks in 1

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3

Villedubert Lock

43.229698°N 2.413303°E

1

113.4

3

Trèbes Lock

43.206848°N 2.449276°E

3

118

2

Marseillette Lock

43.205563°N 2.549688°E

1

127.2

79m

2

Fonfile Lock

43.210825°N 2.584946°E

3

130.4

76m

2

Saint-Martin Lock

43.217296°N 2.596895°E

2

131.6

67m

2

Aiguille Lock

43.229629°N 2.605914°E

2

133.4

59m

2

Puichéric Lock

43.230855°N 2.638368°E

2

136.4

57m

2

Jouarres Lock

43.261912°N 2.686302°E

1

142.7

49m

1

Homps Lock

43.269874°N 2.729844°E

1

146.4

46m

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1

Ognon Lock

43.269768°N 2.738583°E

2

147.1

41m

1

Pechlaurier Lock

43.25023°N 2.757046°E

2

149.8

38m

1

Argens Lock

43.239757°N 2.779187°E

1

152.3

32m

The Harbours where to stop :

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E) DAY 1 : 20 kms and 6 locks – “A Training Day” - From Le SOMAIL to HOMPS

From Le Somail to Ventenac : 5 kms.

Ventenac : 1rst Aqueduc Canal bridge built in 1676

From Ventenac head towards the first lock at Argens Minervois (9 kms), then start the climb towards Homps - a further 6 kms and 5 locks (1 single and 2 doubles). Homps has an attractive canal frontage with a range of good restaurants and boat facilities.

Le Somail Jewel of the Canal du Midi, the small port of Le Somail is also an invitation to take the time to live and simply enjoy ... without moderation. “We had been told about it and had seen a photo of the pretty stone bridge

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spanning the Canal du Midi. And it is when we reach the banks and advance toward the heart, the port, that we understand the wonder in the eyes who had insisted we come here.

Here everything stops suddenly, everything comes to a halt on arrival as if the Canal du Midi would immediately hypnotize us into taking on its rhythm, serene, calm. The place is calm and has been since its construction 300 years ago, at the same time as the Canal du Midi. At the time it served as a “staging-post�, an inevitable stop on the long and tiring trips of the day. Its lodgings welcomed all the travellers passing through and is still there, next to the stone bridge and a chapel of the same age. The place already has some visitors on this early spring day, all of them in the same state of mind as that of the canal, that of the lapping of the river boats in the water and the little boats chartered by the first tourists, that of strolls along the towpaths. Pretty terraces call to us to spend a contemplative moment, to relax. "It's beautiful here," said the gentleman with a hat sitting for the past hour on the bridge. Happy inhabitant of this place out of time, his smile says a lot about the benefits of this delicious atmosphere. We are on foot and in need of nothing else to discover the incredible shop for old books and never leave, or escape along the canal. We feel very well, like we’re on an island, we have absorbed the rhythm and we would like to wander until evening and enjoy the gentle air. Homps

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Close to the Lac de Jouarnes, where you can swim.

Restaurants : Le Somail: Le Comptoir Nature or Auberge du Somail, terrasse on the harbor where people sit to watch the boats come and go, while enjoying a nice meal. Address 1, chemin de Halage, 11120, Le Somail, France Le Somail : Café du Port, terrasse on the harbor Argens : La guinguette d’Argens, close to the bridge ; typical French guinguette under the trees / rue de la fontaine fraiche (if a stop for a lunch on Sunday) Lock Pechlaurier : you can buy fruits and vegetables from the season as well as home made jam. Homps: En Bonne Compagnie, 6 Quai des Negociants, is the perfect small restaurant on the Canal, quaint and pretty. Specialite : soufflé a la banana avec vodka au caramel

WINES HOMPS : Vineyard : Le chai Port Minervois 35 quai des tonneliers Closed on Sundays, open daily 9am to 12 am and 14pm to 19 pm More than 200 wines of MInervois at the producer prices. Guide Oxy2 - Canal du Midi 2015

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Our sommelier Benjamin Bequillard (Vinonet Warsaw) recommended in 2015 :

Chateau St Jacques d’Altas 9,80 euros /bottle

Expression 6,40 euros/bottle

Domaine de l’Ostas Cazes 20 eurs/bottle

Chateau d’Agel “Les bonnes” 7,50 euros/bottle

Check the prices, as there were from 2015.

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F) DAY 2 : 20 kms and 6 locks - From HOMPS to MARSEILLETTE From Homps you could continue through La Redorte, stopping for lunch at the locks at Aiguille, famous for the lock keepers sculptures (12 kms and 3 locks or 5 locks if you go through and lunch at the top). Marseillette is a further 7 kms and 6 locks away - There are excellent moorings at Marseillette but the Water Point is expensive (moore before the bridge and after the locks).

Depending on the time you arrive in Marseillette, you could continue to Trebes in order to have a full day in Carcassonne (day 3). From Marseillette it is 9 kms until the triple staircase locks that take you up into Trebes.

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G) DAY 3 : 10 km and 6 locks ; “Stay” from MARSEILLETTE TO CARCASSONNE

From Marseillette it is 9 kms until the triple staircase locks that take you up into Trebes. Trèbes Along the Canal du midi, there is a pretty and welcoming town called Trèbes. Moor here to eat downtown in one of the good restaurants, or visit the church Saint-Etienne, built in the 14th century. http://www.atrebes.com

Restaurants : - « Le Moulin de Trèbes » à Trèbes (http://www.lemoulindetrebes.com) 2 rue du moulin, terrasse under the trees with sight on the locks diner price : 23 to 30 euros

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- La Poissonnerie at 8 avenue Pierre Curie is where you go for fresh seafood.

Carcassonne Discover the biggest and most beautiful mediaeval construction in all of Europe: the huge stronghold of Carcassonne, built in the 13th century. Explore it and learn its history. Stand on the huge fortified walls to admire the gorgeous views over the valley.

Carcassonne is one of the more touristy destinations, but no less deserving a visit. Its fortified medieval city is among the best preserved and largest of its kind in the world. In both the Cité and the Bastide of Carcassonne you will also find interesting boutiques, gift-shops, restaurants and bistros offering good local cuisine and fine dining. Carcassonne is the capital of the Aude department of the Languedoc-Roussillon

LA CITE (Carcassonne) At the heart of Carcassonne along the Aude River lies its famous fortified medieval town – called la Cité – restored to its full glory in the 19th century, and awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997. You would need 1 day to visit the CITE. Enter the CITE from the Porte AUDE, better sightseeing and more original. Go to the PONT VIEUX and street BARBACANE. Wandering along its narrow cobbled streets, fairy tale towers and ramparts is truly like stepping back in time – a must see for medieval and Cathar enthusiasts, there are also regular jousting and falconry displays organised here in the summer, as well as a host of events, concerts and theatre. There are 26 towers for the internal ramparts and the same number for the external ramparts. Some of them can be visited (ask to the desk at the Chateau comtal (fortress built in 1130) (audioguide available to visit the fortress). Guide Oxy2 - Canal du Midi 2015

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The Pont Vieux does the link between la CITE and la BASTIDE. LA BASTIDE (Carcassonne) Beyond the medieval city, is the lower part of Carcassonne known as the Bastide, and it is here that the Canal du Midi boat base is situated. The Bastide part of Carcassonne is built in a grid system of narrow streets which can make it seem a little inhospitable but, if you’re prepared to take your time exploring, you will find the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Place Carnot square where there are regular open-air markets and a number of bars and cafés.

http://www.tourisme-carcassonne.fr

Cité médiévale de Carcassonne

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Restaurants :

In the Cite : - « Le jardin de l’Evêque » à Carcassonne (http://www.hoteldelacite.com/restaurants/le-jardin-de-leveque) - Pierre Fabre (La cite) : Bar a vins 16 rue du PLO Wonderful terrasse under the trees, Tapas,cheese and charcuterie with good wines. - le saint Jean : 1 place st Jean o superbe sightseeing on the fortress o snacks, pizzas,… - le jardin de la tour : 11 rue porte d’Aude (+33 4 68 25 71 24) nice place for the evening In the Bastide, - Le jardin en ville : 5 rue des framboisiers above la rue de Montpellier. Fresh vegetables from the garden. You can take away also. Booking is recommended (+33 4 68 47 80 91) Shopping : - Monoprix (17 rue Georges Clemenceau – 11000 Carcassonne)

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H) DAY 4 : an easy day : 20 km and only 6 locks from CARCASSONNE to BRAM Leaving Carcassonne, the Canal du Midi winds past these picturesque villages surrounded by the vineyards of the Cabardes wine-making region, a unique blend of wine thanks to its location at the crossroads of the Atlantic grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, and the Mediterranean varieties of Syrah and Grenache. Any of these villages makes for a good detour by bicycle where you can follow cryptic signposts to private vineyards – many of which are more than happy to offer wine-tasting – degustations – especially if you’re in the mood for buying!

At the lock of l’Herminis :

Restaurant : - « Crêperie de l’écluse » à l’écluse Herminis (https://creperiedelecluse11.wordpress.com) - At the lock de Lalande :

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The bridge of Ste Eulalie

and the lavoir (hand wash) :

Villesequelande Although the parish abbey is classified as an historic monument and deserves to be seen, what is symbolic and unique in Villesèquelande is the tree planted in front of the church. The big, old elm is one of the last in France.

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Shopping :

- Epicerie Le Sully (Avenue du 11 Novembre, 11170 – Villesèquelande)

Bram Bram is an attractive town in the countryside, surrounded by a vineyard. Built in a circular style, with the houses arranged in a concentric circle around the church, Bram is in the heart of Cathar country, and the ruins of many castles can be spotted on the hilltops close to the town. It is a large village with good services as it is also a major boat base for boat rentals. There is a fresh water and electricity point at the landing stage, and the village has five restaurants, three café-bars, and two supermarkets – please note that the village is a kilometer or so away from the landing stage.

Circular villages : In medieval times villages of this region were often situated on hilltops and built in a circular fashion for defensive purposes. In the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the south of France, a circulade is a traditional village that has been built in concentric circles. The center, which one might expect to be the site of a château-fort or a parish church, is as often as not, empty, as air photography demonstrates.[1] Though the highly structured circulade plans were not identified as a unique urbanistic phenomenon until 1992, are medieval in origin, dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, two centuries earlier than the planned bastides of the region.

Krzysztof Pawlowski, an architect of Polish extraction working for the UNESCO patrimony section, first studied this phenomenon, which proffered a prototype at the rebirth of European traditions of urbanisation, in Circulades languedociennes de l'an mille: naissance de l'urbanisation européenne (Montpellier 1992). Pawlowski identified more than fifty circular cities and villages of Languedoc-Roussillon, the birthplace of this concept at the rebirth of European town planning. Carcassonne is another example of circular town.

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Aerian picture of Bram :

https://www.facebook.com/villedebram.fr

Lock of Bram

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Harbour in Bram :

The same place 100 years ago (not a lot of changes) :

Restaurants : - « L’ile aux oiseaux » à Bram (http://www.lileauxoiseaux.fr)

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I) DAY 5 : a long day : 20 km and with a lot of locks (12) from BRAM to CASTELNAUDARY

Villepinte Villepinte is a small charming village. Visit the church built in the 14th century, or just hang out downtown in one of the good restaurants. You can use your bike to ride along the banks of the canal.

The village of Villepinte is situated roughly 1 km from the Canal. There is a restaurant here, a grocery and a bakery, an antiques dealer, and a wonderful glass blowing studio with gallery and boutique where you can pick up an extra special gift.

When arriving close to Castelnaudary, you will have within a few kms 3 important locks : - Vivier (3 locks in 1). - Gay (2 locks in 1) Guide Oxy2 - Canal du Midi 2015

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- Saint Roch (4 locks in 1) ;

- Lock Vivier (3 in 1) : - Coming from Castelnaudary :

Lock Gay (2 in 1) :

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Lock St Roch (4 in 1) :

Castelnaudary

Castelnaudary is known as the Capital of the Cassoulet (a local speciality). Discover the beautiful Grand Bassin, built in the 17th century and have a walk around it, seeing ducks, swans, and the beautiful Church on the horizon. Downtown, there are also some really good restaurants to enjoy. Located 65km from the western start point of the Canal at Toulouse, the medium sized town of Castelnaudary is a key stopping point along the route. Castelnaudary sits at the heart of the Lauragais region – known for its rolling fields of wheat – and is one of the contested birthplaces of the famous local Guide Oxy2 - Canal du Midi 2015

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bean stew Cassoulet. The town itself is very pleasant, with a good selection of shops, several restaurants, cafés, bars and holiday accommodation. There is a very large local market on Monday mornings, and there are three large supermarkets within reasonable walking distance from the boat base. The boat base is a major base for boat rental companies and has all the services you will need, including: fresh water, electricity, fuel, shiphandlers, mechanics, slip/crane services. It is possible to hire cars from Location Occitane de Vehicules in Castelnaudary and enjoy day trips to the surrounding villages and sights including the Cathar chateau at Saissac, the village of Montolieu – a booklover’s paradise, the medieval circular village of Fanjeaux , and the medieval town of Mirepoix with its famous Monday morning market.

The foreign Legion (one of the famous French army bodies)has its headquarters in Castelnaudary

http://www.castelnaudary-tourisme.fr/?redirection=true

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Restaurants :

- « La maison de cassoulet » à Castelnaudary (24 Cours de la République, 11400 Castelnaudary) - « Le Tirou » à Castelnaudary (http://www.letirou.com/fr)

To visit : - Round basin XVIIth century, - St Michel College (XIII C.), - Cugarel mill.

Shopping : SPAR

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J) DAY 6 (cruise) : “a resting day” : 10 km and 6 locks from Castelnaudary to Port Lauragais

K) DAY 7 : Port Lauragais : Boat given back to Nicols

Villefranche-de-Lauragais This small town, founded in the 13th century, lies 1.5 km from the Canal du Midi. It has by far the best shopping facilities between Toulouse and Castelnaudary, with a local café-bar, several restaurants, two groceries, a butchery, five bakeries, a local Hotel de France and a market on Friday mornings. There are some good examples of local architecture here including the gothic church and the arcaded market hall, the Barelles watermill and the Bourrel windmill. Worth to visit : - old tower (1606), church and restored water mill - Seuil de Naurouze : Highest point of Canal du Midi (190m), Threshold watershed (Atlantique/Méditerranée) Obelisk Pierre Paul Riquet, Former Royal mill Restaurants : - « La Dinée » à Port Lauragais (http://www.ladinee.com) - « Hostellerie Etienne » 1 rue st James (D6113) 11320 Labastide d’Anjou +33 4 68 60 10 08, ( http://www.hostellerieetienne.com) in a park full of birds, you can eat one of the best Cassoulet in the region. For the evening, recommended to book in advance a table. Epiceries : - SPAR / SUPER U / ALDI à Villefranche Lauragais

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Oxy2 Conciergerie is a time saving solution. For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, it means that Oxy2 provides services that aim at saving me for the consumer through providing high quality services, taking care of everyday’s issues from the basic to the specific. The purpose is to help busy individuals to build a healthy work life balance, and to assist expatriates in settling in and starting a new life abroad, here in Poland. From the relocation to the home duties and vacation organising, Oxy2 is here to help. This guide is an example of holidays Oxy2 can organize. For further informtion about Oxy2, please have a look on our website www.oxy2.eu or contact us via contact@oxy2.eu.

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Oxy2 guide cruise on the canal du midi  

an Oxy2 Conciergerie guide to discover the canal du midi and to help you to organize your boat trip.