Monday, 21 November 2011
Canal du Midi, tree crisis.
We recently popped down the road to the lovely little village of Le Sommail to try out a restaurant that had been strongly reccomended. Le Comptoir Nature. It was a fun lunch with the family, whilst the food was local and organic and the service was very friendly, the real appeal is that the restaurant is right on the banks of the Canal du Midi.
The Domaine Delmas Cremant de Limoux was exceptional. This is a biodynamic wine from the cooler areas of the Languedoc region. Quality fizz at an affordable price.
The delightfully positioned Le Comptoir Nature restaurant.
Plenty of ducks to feed and boats to watch!
The Canal du Midi was built in the 17th Century and was designed by Pierre-Paul Riquet, a salt tax collector for Louis XIV. Monsieur Riquet dedicated his life to the construction of this incredible Canal that links the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea. He died in 1680 one year before the Canal was opened.
Nowadays the Canal has many barges, houseboats and fun boats. The Canal is a hive of activity in the Summer months, while holidaymakers enjoy a relaxing pace of life.
The Canal du Midi is lined with magnificent Plane trees that cast shade on to the canal, whilst also re inforcing the bank with the root network as well as reducing water evaporation.
Unfortunately in the last few years there has been an ugly, virulent, microscopic fungus called Ceratocystis Platani that has attacked the trees. This is believed to have been transmitted during the Second World War by American GI's and their sycamore ammunition boxes. This may be extremely hard to prove but nevertheless it is a great tragedy that over the next few years many of these plane trees will be cut down and the atmosphere of the tranquil Canal du Midi will be transformed. Perhaps a disease resistant tree will be planted instead.
The trees are already being marked for chopping.