The South-West is another favourite destination in France, with amazing diversity both on the waterways and among the various sub-regions. Toulouse, at the end of the Canal du Midi, is the gateway. The feeling of being in the outer suburbs of a modern metropolis lingers for a few hours as one drops through the first few locks out of Toulouse, but the canal and its many haltes are consistently charming, in a way that is less ostentatious and more genuine than along the Canal du Midi.
The cruising experience will be an alternation of canal sequences, enjoying the finely-engineered Canal de Garonne, and navigation in rivers. The first to be encountered is the river Tarn upstream of Montauban, reached through the Canal de Montech. A couple of days later, after the visit to Agen, come the twin pièces de résistance of this region : the river Baïse leading south from Buzet-sur-Baïse, and the river Lot, heading east towards the Massif Central. Development of use of the Lot is seriously hampered by the restricted conditions of access via the Garonne crossing. Huge investments – not only restoration but new deep locks to bypass hydropower dams – depend on a solution being found to improve the navigable access.
Rivers and Canals of Aquitaine
At Castets-en-Dorthe, the plaisancier locks out into the tidal river Garonne, and a series of different experiences beckons, on the rivers Garonne, Dordogne and Isle, and finally in the Gironde estuary.
Click on the list (right) to open information pages for each river and canal in this region, including navigation guides, books and PDF downloads.
This regional group of waterway Cruising in Detail guides can also be downloaded as one complete set.
Each Waterway in Detail
Region Set PDF Download
Complete south-west waterways – Garonne, Montauban, Baise, Lot, Dordogne etc – in detail.
Region set : 25€
Each waterway page has been compiled and edited by David Edwards-May (waterways consultant and author of ‘Inland Waterways of France) and Jenny Ruff, and founded on the extensive 7,000km of personal experience of the french-waterways.com team since 2003.