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Approximately 4 Hours
Meals not included
Leave Sete by coach with a panoramic drive along the coastal road to Grau d'Agde. Here, you will board a boat and commence an exploration of some of the waterways of Languedoc.
The Hérault River runs through the Gard and Hérault regions, running from north to south down to the Mediterranean Sea.
Entering the Canal du Midi -- brainchild of Pierre Paul Riquet, Baron of Bonrepos and feudal lord of the Languedoc -- you will learn all about the construction of the canal. The project that was first envisaged by the Romans, but wound up in their "too hard" file. Riquet, a genuine visionary, hired 12,000 men at his own expense to move thousands of tons of earth in order to link Toulouse and Sete by water. The Canal du Midi was completed in 1680 and was originally a trade route. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is used almost exclusively for sightseeing, as it crosses a nature reserve and some of the most picturesque scenery in southern France.
You will pass the circular lock at Prades and the Bagnas Lock before entering the Etang de Thau Lagoon, famous for its oyster beds. The Thau Lagoon has a surface area of some 20,000 acres. It is a natural feature, formed when a section of the coastal plain collapsed. Thanks to two large engineering projects, the lagoon is now linked to the sea by the Canal de Pisse Saume to the west and the Canal du Midi to the east.
Leave the boat in the town of Marseillan and re-board your coach for the drive back to the ship.
Some places along the Canal du Midi are less wooded than usual due to a disease that affects plane trees. Participants must walk 200 yards to reach the boat, with five steps to climb.