A spectacular watery staircase
A major piece of engineering on the Canal du Midi, Fonseranes’s nine locks create a spectacular watery staircase, designed by 17th-century genius Pierre-Paul Riquet. Seven of the original locks are still in place, along with their associated basins, covering a shift in altitude of 21.5m along a length of 312m. Walkers have long appreciated coming here… over the last 350 years! Enjoy the film on the history of the Canal du Midi and Fonseranes’s nine locks.
You reach the spot via the Maison de Site, at the top of the series of locks. Then take the gently sloping path allowing you to watch the seven working locks in action. For boats, the journey up lasts 45 minutes, the descent 30 minutes, making it easy for vessels to negotiate the steep gradient. Beside the nine locks, a device to accommodate much bigger boats than the traditional 17th-century gabarres reveals why trade via these waterways decreased through time.