Le Seuil de Naurouze
The separation of the waters
History & beauty
Le Seuil de Naurouze is an historic site for several reasons. It has been many things in the past, including a 11 hectare reservoir to maintain the level of the canal du midi, a pétanque stadium, a project for a village and a football pitch, but today it is known for “Le partage de eaux” (the separation of the waters).
The canal des deux mers (The canal of the two seas) flows form the Atlantic Ocean, near Bordeaux, to The Mediterranean Sea near Sète for just over 430 kilometers.
The Partage des eaux marks the highest point on the canal du midi at 190 meters and it is here that one current flows south to the Mediterranean Sea and the other flows north to The Atlantic Ocean.
The canal was built in the 17th century and is a mammoth feat of engineering, although today it is used by pleasure boats, cyclists and walkers.
On the trail of history
Unfortunately, as in many places in France, hardly anything is explained or pointed out to tourists, which is a shame, and The Seuil de Naurouze is not any different in this case. There is a monument, which alwasys seems to be closed, to the designer of the Canal du Midi, Pierre-Paul Riquet, erected by his ancestors in 1827. The obelisk is in the place where the original octagonal reservoir was sited.
The cottage of the engineer of the canal du Midi is where The Duke of Wellington signed the armistice to end the Napoleonic Wars on 14 April 1814 with Maréchal Soult, but nobody appears to know this – even at the tourist kiosk in the car park. After this Napoleon was exiled on the island of Elba, but later escaped and was later defeated at Waterloo.
So this place holds a lot of history.
What to see and do
There are some lovely shady walks through 200 year old plane tree avenues, you can hire a boat nearby and take a trip of the canal and cycling and walking are popular as the towpaths are good and flat. If you fancy a little cycle ride, you can follow La Rigole de La Plain, which is a stream that flows through Revel and up into Les Cammazes in La Montagne Noire, passing near to Saint Félix de Lauragais and Le Lac de L’Enclas.
Le Seuil de Naurouze is between Toulouse and Carcassonne, near to Castelnaudary. You can either take the old road or the motorway to either Villefranche-de-Lauragais or Castelnaudary – Le Seuil de Naurouze is just outside Avigninet Lauragais.
Food & drink
The south west of France has a very rich food culture and the Aude département is well-known for the local delicacies.
The most authentique food is probably Cassoulet and Castelnaudary, along with Toulouse and Carcassonne claims to have the rights to the original recipe.
Goat cheeses are popular here, as too are sheep milk cheeses, in summer melons are an abundant source for refreshing starters.
As with most French food, the local delicacies are in tune with the seasons and the proximity to The Pyrenees Mountains and La Montagne Noire makes the region a great place to sample some delicious dishes made with local products that are cultivated with pride.
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