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The canal towpath

The canal towpath

Often cut clean into the rock between St. Cirq Lapopie and Bouziès and along the river, this is a beautiful man-made trail with an original view of the natural world.

Spend a charming and seductive day listening to birdsong and the calm lapping of the water while you are guided by special signposts along the way.

 

At the speed of the old river trade

The walk starts at the Halte Nautique (river port) of Saint Cirq Lapopie for a 15 km round trip. Along the river Lot, you will first visit the canal lock of the medieval village, followed by a second lock at Ganil. After that, where the cliff falls sheer to the water level, the towpath is cut clean into the rock, a sort of half-tunnel two metres high for about 300 metres in length. A little further along you come across an artistic interpretation of the environment you are visiting created by Daniel Monnier, an artist from Toulouse, who has made a bas-relief carving into the stone along the cutting.

You can start from the village centre, the path is a a little rocky at first but just as enjoyable for a slightly shorter, 10 km round trip.

If you only wish to see the cutaway section and sculpture by Monnier, start from the carpark of Bouziès at the level of the Ganil lock. The full walk is just 3 km.

 

A brief history

Built in 1845, the towpath was used for horses to tow barges or flat-bottomed boats, taking local goods towards Bordeaux. Products would include Cahors wines, dried plums, the production of wood turners and particularly taps for wine barrels.

In 1926, the Lot was downgraded as a navigable river and has been extensively redeveloped for recreational boating since 1990. Daniel Monnier began the creation of the bas-relief carved into the side of the towpath around this time. He presents the environment of the river in his own fashion, its flora, fauna and fossils.