A change of scene in Le Somail, Canal du Midi

Saint-Nazaire-d'Aude 1 jour

Carte de localisation de Saint-Nazaire-d'Aude

A trip to Le Somail has it all. This pretty Canal du Midi port has everything you could wish for: mountain bike rides, barge cruises, gourmet eateries, books and culture for everyone. You can count on relaxation and a change of scene on the banks of one of the oldest working canals in Europe.

01 Highlight

Just roll with it

A peaceful canal

Hop on! Get comfortable on your bike and drink in views of the peaceful canal as far as the eye can see. The quiet port of Le Somail is your start point for your morning adventure: work up an appetite in a green haven.

Balade à vélo le long du canal du Midi, escale au Somail ©Idriss Bigou-Gilles - ADT de l'Aude

Ride with the wind

The soft morning sun warms body and mind as you picture your mountain bike gliding along the towpath…
Ride with the wind and set your sights on the horizon: it’s a confident start for a two hour ride from the Canal du Midi to Canal de Jonction. Let’s go!

Key figures
1666: work began under Pierre-Paul Riquet. The revolutionary structure was unveiled just 15 years later. The 240km canal and 63 locks link the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Le hameau du Somail, halte emblématique du canal du Midi © Le Boat
Le canal à port la Robine © Canal des 2 Mers à vélo, Lezbroz, T. Verneuil, ADT de l'Aude

In the shade of the umbrella pines, life flows by…
A few nosy ducks have decided to join you as the current pushes the barges along. The canal’s water mirror is your kindly escort.

02Highlight

Le Somail, a 12th century port

Age-old charm

A leafy wall appears before you: tenacious ivy has taken over the wall of a huge house, none other than Le Somail’s former inn. Take things slow on your walk and give your muscles a break after the morning’s ride. A mosaic of landscapes appears before you… Le Somail is a non-stop feast for the eyes. Time stretches out and you can’t help but unwind. It’s like a home from home!

Balade en bateau sur le Canal du Midi au Somail ©Idriss Bigou-Gilles - ADT de l'Aude
Promenade en bateau sur le Somail © La Capitane

It’s time for a tour before lunch.
Learn all about this charming little port as you wander its unspoilt lanes.
It feels like the 12th century here…

Go with the flow of history

Stone humpbacked bridge, church, ice house… this unspoilt slice of the canal has an authentic vibe that gives visitors an insight into what life was like here when Riquet was alive.

le Somail , sur le canal du Midi © J. Belondrade, OT Grand Narbonne Tourisme
Le canal du Midi en bateau ©Idriss Bigou-Gilles - ADT de l'Aude

Meet Miss Cradock...

Le Somail port was a “couchée” (stopover). Boats would dock here so sailors and their passengers could stop in the village inn for the night.


Hear all about it from Miss Cradock at Maison Bonnal. She’s quite a character!

Hologramme de Miss Cradock au Somail© E. Perrin, OT Grand Narbonne Tourisme

03Highlight

An unexpected bookshop that sells everything!

Le Trouve Tout du Livre, librairie au Somail ©Idriss Bigou-Gilles - ADT de l'Aude

Thomas Jefferson
The third President of the United States was one of the first people to visit Le Somail! A plaque commemorates his visit.

A cathedral of culture

Gaze at the unusual spot. As luck would have it, you’re in for a treat. Step into a unique bookshop: a cathedral of culture where the books are carefully arranged and catalogued. Heaven for any bookworm!

Trouve Tout du Livre is a gold mine if you love reading. Wander around the wooden mezzanine to reach the lofty tomes. You could spend hours here and you won’t want to leave without the whole shop.

04 Highlight

Organic local lunch by the canal

On the menu: tasty fresh food!

Settle down at Comptoir Nature’s canalside terrace and drink in views of ducks taking a dip and hiding in a fragrant iris bush. Today’s dish of the day is on its way…

Les manifestations le long du canal du Midi ©Ailium production - ADT de l'Aude
Le Cassoulet, une spécialité de l'Aude ©Philippe Benoist-Office de Tourisme de Castelnaudary

The lock keeper’s former stable serves the region on a plate: tuck into a crunchy seasonal vegetable starter before a duck cassoulet that melts in the mouth.
Here’s a delectable dessert: Combebelle goat’s cheese and candied rosemary to end your gourmet break on a high!

Celebrating local produce!

“Our experience exceeded our expectations! It had everything: sophisticated local dishes, wonderful service and a beautiful waterfront setting. And a cruise to end... this is the good life! "
François

Restaurant dans l'Aude © Pixabay - Wow Pho

05Highlight

Traditional barge cruise

Ahoy there sailor!

The boat’s wooden bow carves its way through the green canal. The traditional La Capitane barge slowly sets sail from Le Somail port. Spend a few hours sailing with an expert sailor.


A hubbub in the peaceful late afternoon grabs your attention… here we go, it’s time for your first lock!


Listen to the fascinating history of the canal’s structures and their incredible hydraulics. The experience is simply unforgettable!

Le canal du Midi en bateau ©Vincent Photographie - ADT de l'Aude

The breeze tempers the heat as you explore the canal from the inside. Unwind on the leisurely cruise as you cross a fabulous canal bridge with umbrella pines in the background…

It’s your turn to say hello to the runners and cyclists on the towpath.

Water brings history to life in Le Somail…

Top tip: Comptoir Nature provides permit-free electric boats for hire. See another side to Le Somail and its canal on your own or with friends and family.

Écluse à Argens Minervois sur le canal du Midi © C. Deschamps, ADT de l'Aude

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Experience it for yourself...

Hotels, restaurants, things to do, trip ideas and more. Check out our top tips to make the most of your time in Côte du Midi.

LES VÉLOS DU SOMAIL

Cycles SAINT-NAZAIRE-D'AUDE

LIBRAIRIE ANCIENNE - LE TROUVE TOUT DU LIVRE

Leisure equipment SAINT-NAZAIRE-D'AUDE

Getting here

By car

20 minutes from Narbonne - D 607 to Saint-Nazaire-d'Aude.

By bus

From Narbonne, take the #21 Narbonne Citibus

By bike

Hire an all-terrain bike, most models are available as e-bikes.

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