Pont-canal de Cacor à MoissacPont-canal de Cacor à Moissac
©Le Pont-canal de Cacor à Moissac|CRTO-Dominique Viet
A variety of landscapes to be amazed

The Garonne Canal

Ingenious and spectacular structures

Swing bridge, canal bridge… how strange!

The Garonne Canal has many engineering structures, some of which are as ingenious as they are spectacular. The Cacor canal-bridge and the Saint-Jacques swing bridge, both in Moissac, or the water slope in Montech are good excuses for a stopover. The water slope deserves an explanation: built in the 1970s, this system was unique in the world. It consisted of a channel parallel to the canal where two high-powered tractors equipped with a watertight mask pushed up and held back a triangle of water on which the boat floated down. This structure replaced five locks and was a real attraction, both for the spectators comfortably seated on the bank and for the freshwater sailors.

A walk along the water

A living historical monument, the Garonne Canal is also, and at the same time, a walk through the centuries and a break in time: it runs alongside architectural wonders from the Middle Ages but requires technical prodigies from the 20th century; it offers in all seasons the peaceful splendours of the countryside while crossing towns which have often created for it ports and grandiose stopping places.

Nero and Augustus had thought of it!

Although it was inaugurated in 1856, the Garonne Canal had been on people’s minds since… the Roman emperors Nero and Augustus! Before its construction, the link between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean was made along the Spanish coast, through the Strait of Gibraltar, a journey of more than three thousand kilometres that forced the navigators to brave storms and barbarian attacks.
The great difficulty, as with the Canal du Midi, was its water supply. It had to receive a sufficient quantity to ensure constant navigation. The waters of the Garonne, in Toulouse and Agen, provided this.

The Garonne canal

in Tarn-et-Garonne

Immediate boarding!

Sailing in freedom

Numerous marinas have been built along the 70 km of the Garonne Canal in Tarn-et-Garonne. Nearby are shops and places to visit. These harbours are a response to the influx of tourists, but some existed in the days of the merchant mariners, such as Auvillar, where the local lord charged a toll.

The main ports are Montech, Montauban, Castelsarrasin, Moissac and Valence d’Agen, all of which are pleasant stopping places that provide access to local life, markets, places to visit and good restaurants.