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Photographer's Note

April 6, 2008
Béziers 340032 34500
Herault Languedoc-Roussillon
43.350 3.250 53 m

The eight locks of Fonsérannes, work of the XVIIe century, considered in its time a wonder of the World, on the Channel of the South.

Entry
Exit

63 locks strew the Channel with the South, including 8 locks of Fonsérannes to the arrival of the channel with Béziers, built of 1673 to 1680. It is a major work of the channel, with 8 basins of form ovoid very aesthetic and 9 doors, which makes it possible to cross uneven of 21,5 m out of approximately 300 m.

The Canal du Midi, "channel of the South", built from 1667 to 1681, connects out of 241 km the Garonne from Toulouse, with the Mediterranean in Séte. With the canal Latéral, "side channel", in the Garonne, it constitutes an inland waterway of the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It was prolonged by the Canal du Rhône à Sète, "channel of the Rhone to Sète", completed in 1811. It includes, starting from the point the highest known as threshold of Naurouze, a slope of 52 km towards the Atlantic Ocean and a slope of 189 km towards the Mediterranean. Of an average depth of 2 m, its width of surface is of 20 m, for 10 m at the bottom.
It was the largest building site of the XVIIe century: During 15 years, 12000 workmen, including 600 women, built 328 structures including 64 locks, 54 aqueducts, 7 tubular bridges, of the épanchoirs, the tunnels, the lock houses, and planted 45000 plane trees and cypress along the banks.
Today the channel is used for river tourism and the irrigation of the grounds.
History of the canal

Since its opening, after the passage of the locks of Fonsérannes, at some distance, before joining its layout, the channel borrowed the course of Orb, capricious river, with the violent risings and the very low water level in summer. To mitigate these difficulties, a derivation was dug, and a bridge channel, the Pont-Canal, was built since 1857 and was inaugurated in 1858, allowing with not leaving the channel of the South. It is one of the largest bridges canals of France, with its 12 m of height, 240 m length, 28 m broad and its two tow paths.

Béziers, (in occitan, Besièrs), is a French common, located in the department of the Herault of the Languedoc-Roussillon area, populated of 71 600 Biterrois and Biterrois, distributed on 96 km², is 759 hab./km².
By its population, Béziers is the second city of the department of Herault and the fourth of the Languedoc-Roussillon area, after Montpellier, Nimes and Perpignan.
By its surface, Béziers is the first commune of the department of Herault.

It is the fatherland of Pierre-Paul Riquet, born between 1604 and 1609 and deceased in Toulouse on October 1, 1680, architect of the Channel of the South of 240 km, built of 1667 to 1682, to connect Toulouse to Sète.

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Additional Photos by joel berthonneau (jlbrthnn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 7186 W: 0 N: 22963] (76041)
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