Locks of Fonséranes, the Canal du Midi to Béziers

During your holiday at the 5-star Les Mimosas campsite in Hérault in Occitanie, you will have the opportunity to visit Béziers with its Saint-Nazaire cathedral and its Old Bridge which spans the Orb. The coastal river which waters this beautiful city famous for its wines, its feria and its passion for rugby must, however, share the spotlight with the Canal du Midi, the canal which connects the Mediterranean Sea from Toulouse by river. In particular with the 9 locks of Fonseranes, which allow the canal du midi to descend to Béziers and which make up the major structure of the canal. A true masterpiece of engineering which over time has become a tourist attraction for visitors. All around this site, you can admire traditional buildings dating back to the early years of the canal: the water coach, the stables or the lock keeper's house.

The main purpose of a lock, the concept of which was invented in China shortly before the year 1000, is to solve the problem of drop. It also helps control the flow of a stream or the effect of the tide in dams. The 9 locks of Fonseranes are out of the ordinary because of their number, but also of the technical prowess carried out by man to find a solution to a drop of more than 20 meters, with a total of 8 ovoid-shaped basins and 9 doors. Its uniqueness explains why they are the third most visited site in the ancient Languedoc-Roussillon region (around 320,000 visitors per year), behind the legendary Pont du Gard and Carcassonne.

Since 1996, the Fonseranes locks have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site (like the entire Canal du Midi) and several parts have been classified as "historic monuments".

Photo: Ad Meskens