Michael and Pam's Travels

Pyrenees to Castelnaudary via the Midi Canal, 2014

Travelled : xx miles to Negra by camper car to 32 kilometres to Castelnaudary by barge, transmitting 16 locks.

Visited : Toulouse, Negra, Villefranche-de-Lauragais, Castelnaudary

Stayed : Toulouse and along the banks of the canal

Our travels through this part of the Pyrenees is drawing to a close. We have spent a wonderful night at the unofficial Aire on Col de Tourmalet. We wake to find the ponies wandering the parking area have been replaced with alpacas of all things. They are walking between the campers and cars looking very inquisitive.


Col De Aspin, France.  2014

Col De Aspin to the west, France. 2014


Col De Aspin,  France.  2014

Col De Aspin to the east, France. 2014




De Midi

Another cloud sweeps by, France.  2014


The cyclist are starting to pull into the car park already. They arrive in there vans and begin getting their bikes ready for today’s torture test. It is a sight we have seen repeated every morning after we spend the night on a mountain top car park. Their arrival signals our time to leave before they start downhill and we have to dodge them all the way down.

Soon enough we are out of the Pyrenees, onto the motorway. It’s a couple of hours on the freeway or double that on the back roads, so we have opted for the tollway to get it over and done. There is nothing particularly interesting on our track today and we probably would not choose to go to Toulouse other than Negra being the stepping off point for our Midi Canal adventure. Although we note that Toulouse is the home of Airbus main assemble plant and we see several very unusual aircraft flying around.

Toulouse is not a very camper car friendly city and it is a city. Our stay in Toulouse has been at a very expensive, rather ordinary municipal campsite in a very drab suburb. But we got some washing done, took the Hymer to a lave-auto or car wash and gave it a polish as well. Our other task has been to do some grocery shopping for our first few nights for the six people.


Get Directions


All those tasks complete we head for Negra, a small village on the Midi Canal about 30 kilometres from Toulouse. We have hired a 14 metre penichette, a French barge for two weeks. It proves to be comfortable for 6 people. With a displacement of just under 12 metre tonnes it will keep us busy going through the locks but with plenty of room to sit around or lounge. It has three double births, three bathrooms and an additional separate head. We made all the hire arrangements through UK and Europe Travel, a Melbourne based company we have used before and we recommend. I will put some exact costs down later, but just to give you a ball park the cost per couple was less than A$3000 for the fortnight all inclusive, except food and drink.

We arrive in Negra with time to spare and get about trying to find our boat and organise the food and drink on board. Jenny and Dave (Pam’s sister and brother in law) and our neighbours Gaye and Colin give us a call from the local train station and the Hymer becomes a people mover. Our next little drama is going through the handover process and signing away any rights to sue Locaboat for anything and where off.


The Captain, The Midi Canal, France.  2014

The Captain, The Midi Canal, France. 2014






Overnight stop on the canal, France.  2014

Overnight stop on the canal, France. 2014








Get Directions


We quickly settle into life on our penichette, the Pigasse. Over the next few days we pass numerous little village, learn to master moving the Pigasse through the locks and travel through the beautiful Midi Canal and the thousands of plain trees that line it’s banks. We stop at Villefranche-de-Lauragais, Castelnaudary and Bram. Ride our bicycles into town and wander around, before finding the supermarket and stocking up for the evening. Maintaining a study supply of beer and wine our only a logistic challenge.








2 thoughts on “Pyrenees to Castelnaudary via the Midi Canal, 2014

  1. Rita

    You guys are truly courageous and obviously multi-talented: driving a motor home through places in France I have never heard of, let alone been through, and even taking on a boat and not a little dingy either by the sounds of it! I’m sitting here in amazement. It is, btw, also very interesting to read the prices, in case one would like to try and emulate your spirit of adventures. When will you start your own travel agency?

    Toulouse has some very bad connotations:it’s there that Mohamed Merah massacred two little children and their father plus a wonderful girl of 8 in a Jewish school – because they were Jewish. What is worse is that, meanwhile, this vermin has become a “hero” to some section of the local islamic community – and his sister, always fully veiled despite the much vaunted French laws against the Burka (which are not enforced), has gone “fighting jihad in Syria” with her 4 or 5 children and I dont know how many “cuzs” – financed by the hapless French tax-payer.

    OZ too has now officially reaped the benefit of “multi culturalism”. It was just discovered that there was a plan (by order of IS, the Islamic Nation) to take an Australian at random in the CBD (Martin Place), publicly decapitate him and send the video back to HQ in Iraq for global publication. Big early morning raids in Sydney and Brisbane – 800 police who netted what seems only a relatively small number of “them”. Ozzies are (justifiably) worried and/or angry.

    Okay, I will close this negative parenthesis – please feel free to delete it.

    Did you know that there are 2 kinds of croissants in France? One is made with butter, the other with margarine, the first one is marginally more expensive. And with September having the letter “R” in it, the Oyster season has started. In my time, some 100 years ago, you only ate oysters during the months with an “R” as these were the colder months. Also, for an oyster to be “fresh” it had to move, when you squeezed your lemon on it, before you put it in your mouth. The first oysters I ate in a Sydney restaurant did not move – so I let them go back, because I thought they were “off”.

    Happy travelling.

  2. Jim and Denise

    Hi Pam & Mike we have been enjoying your travel journal, you have finally met up with our neighbours for your canal cruise, enjoy.

    Thought you might be interested our neighbours across the road no 22 have listed their unique home for sale listed for over $1.1000.00.

    All is well here in the village but very quite the weather is becoming warmer and final times for the footy.

    Denise and Jim

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