After spending 3 nights in the quaint southern France town of Narbonne on the Canal de La Robine, 4 of us headed to Argens to pick up our Penichette 1020 FB to self-drive for a week, going west on the Canal du Midi for 119 kilometers.
We maneuvered 45 locks (ecluses) with a total of 67 "staircases" during those 7 days, mooring as we saw fit to take in the beauty of the area in late September, walking into small villages like Bram and Villefrance-de-Lauragais to experience the hustle, bustle and color of their markets with fresh baguettes, cheeses, wine and handmade clothing.
The wine in Bram was purchased for 1-2 EUROS per liter and was dispensed into our empty plastic water containers directly from the wine shop owner's cask, a truly unique experience! That was at 7:30 a.m.!
The days on the canal were filled with the incredible dappling beauty on the canal's surface from a combination of the shafts of sunlight through the trees lining the canal and the mirror-like reflections of these trees on the canal's surface. We could see the inspiration for some of works of the great Impressionist artists whose works we saw at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris after our canal trip ended.
We were able to mitigate weight gain from the cheese, bread and wine through the work required getting through the locks...handling ropes, looping them around the bollards, holding them taught during the lock spillage.
It didn't hurt that the weather was in the mid-80's and we had a full moon!