Day 2: Donneville to Renneville (21.5 kilometres, 13.4 miles)
Between Donneville and Renneville, the Midi Canal slices through fields of summer sunflowers—a line of plane trees providing a ribbon of shade and tranquillity among a riot of cheerful yellow blooms.
There are few places to stop for lunch along the way unless you are prepared to venture off the towpath, so bring a picnic lunch and choose a lock or any grassy bend along the canal to rest awhile.
After leaving Donneville, a leisurely thirty minutes of walking will bring you to Écluse de Montgiscard. If you fancy a pastry or tarte au chocolat, cross the canal at the bridge and climb the hill to the village where you’ll find a boulangerie (bakery) as well as several cafés. But if you are looking for more practical supplies, there is a supermarket a short distance along the canal.
Several towns and villages are visible from the canal between Donneville and Renneville — Baziège, Ayguesvives, Montesquieu-Lauragais, Villenouvelle, Villefranche-de-Lauragais and Gardouch. All offer a variety of cafés, services and sometimes toilets. Before you detour from the canal, remember that small supermarkets and bakeries will close for lunch and public toilets are not always well-maintained.
It’s a good idea to start the day’s walk well-prepared, with enough water and trail mix to see you through.
In the late seventeenth century, when the Midi Canal opened to boat traffic, the journey from Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea took four days, with fixed stops for lunch and overnight stays, as there were no sleeping quarters for passengers on the vessels. In those days, boats stopped for lunch on the first day here at Écluse de Negra where a small chapel and a canteen provided shelter and a break.
Today, the port at Écluse de Negra is still a popular mooring spot for boats stopping for a lunch break — the nautical equivalent of lorries lined up at a truck-stop.
From Écluse de Negra, it’s a pleasant hour-long stroll to Écluses de Gardouch where you’ll find picnic tables, toilets and drinkable water.
Another hour and today’s walk is done.
Between Donneville and Renneville, accommodation is available in Ayguesvives, Villenouvelle, Gardouch and Villefranche-de-Lauragais (check here for a full list of accommodation along the Midi Canal). Like all the options so far, a detour off the canal will be required.
To reach Renneville from the canal – at Écluse de Renneville, cross the canal and follow the D72 for 100 metres. When the D72 turns left, keep going straight ahead into the village. From here, you’ll see signs directing you to the chambre d’hôte.
To rejoin the canal – retrace your steps.
Overnight accommodation in Renneville (updated 2019)
Le Souleilla (four rooms, 12 people)
Learn more about walking along the Midi Canal from Toulouse to Carcassonne
Enjoy a walk along the Midi Canal from the comfort of your armchair
Day 2: Donneville to Renneville