Biking and Boating in Southern France

 May 2004



We took another trip from Munich, this time to the Provence where our friends Ralf and Angela live near Aix en Provence. Together we did a one-week house boat trip that started in St. Gilles (area marked by the red circle in the left map). We boated southwest through the Camargue on the Canal du Rhone. From Beziere we were on the Canal du Midi that connects the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Our GPS track is in yellow and our overnight stops are labeled S1-S7. We turned in the boat in Cassafieres.






This is our boat at one of our overnight camps. Ralph has the barbecue going on shore. The top white part of the boat slides backward to make it into a convertible.


The bicycles we rented are on front of the boat.








Ralf and Juergen with their toys: GPS with PC in the wide open area of the Canal du Rhone.







The initial part of the trip took us through the Camargue a region famous for wetlands, animals and unspoiled nature. Famous are the wild white horses.







We saw many of these very colorful bee eaters. They were nested in the banks.











Bridges on elevators. Reminiscent of French impressionist paintings.








We had lunch in Meze, one of the pretty towns along the Canal du Rhone, and had colorful and delicious seafood.









Most of the time we had typical French food prepared by Angela in the main cabin of the boat.








We had walkie talkies with us which made it easy to coordinate with the boat so we could get back together after a ride. Here the boat is going through a lock.











Juergen and Ralf on a baguette run.










This is the Canal du Midi. We took a 30 mi bike ride. Biking along the canals is easy and convenient. Most of the time, there are paths just along the water.










Biking along the Canal du Midi with the city of Beziere in the background






Biking along the river Orb. The bridge carries the Canal du Midi over the river.


This photo was used for the background on this web page.









This is on top of the Canal du Midi bridge shown in the above photo. The River Orb is now below.





Going through locks is one of the interesting experiences when house boating.

There are quite a few locks one has to go through. The most impressive section is in Beziere with 7 successive locks and a total of 41’ elevation difference. The locks, the Ecluses de Fonseranes, are a UNESCO World Heritage site.








This is the top level lock at Beziere.













One can see several of the Beziere locks.











This is a typical picture of the Canal du Midi lined with plane trees.








Back at Ralf and Angela’s spectacular home, Juergen and Ralf relax from all the “stresses” of the house boat vacation…..








Our dinner at a local French restaurant celebrated the successful boat cruise and their anniversary.