I’ve written before about my fascination with doors, door knockers and windows: https://fancyingfrance.com/2021/03/15/a-fascination-with-doors/
Now, I think it’s time to share my latest obsession. This is with the houses belonging (or that belonged) to the Canal du Midi lock keepers. This is probably rather ‘niche’! It’s one of those obsessions that crept up on me, without me realising. The photo below shows the lock house which is nearest to our home.
There is something very pleasing about the symmetry of this house. It reminds me of houses often drawn by young children. The front door is in the middle and the windows either side. I also like the colour of the shutters. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of this building that appeals to me?
Each house has a sign indicating distances to the next locks, in both directions.
We like to walk in the early evening, with Zeph, along the tow path but away from Castelnaudary. In this direction the second lock we reach is the Ecluse de Vivier. You can see the same colour shutters and the distance sign in the photo below.
Continuing our walk, we come to the Écluse de Guillermin. This house is uninhabited which, I think, is a shame. Now that so many of the locks are automated, fewer lock keepers are required. You can just spot a stunning blue sky in this photo. There is not much similarity in the doors!
The next lock along the way is called the Ecluse de Saint Sernin. Here we have another house, another green door but still the same shade as we have seen before and, of course, another distance sign.
Are you still with me? We next come to the interestingly named Ecluse de Guerre, (guerre usually meaning war). It was built in 1674 but I can’t find out how it got its name. I think some further research is needed!
And last, but not least, we arrive at our destination and my favourite lock house! This particular lock is called the ‘Ecluse de la Peyruque’ and the photo below is a clue to my reasons for liking it.
This house is not inhabited by a lock keeper but by a very interesting couple. The wife is an artist and has a small gallery where you can buy some of her ceramics. I bought the simple plaque below. I like the naïve simplicity.
You can also buy a beer and local produce and it is definitely a very pleasant place to stop and enjoy an apéritif! They have two lovely rescue dogs and always make a fuss of Zeph.
Below you can see the lock house from the opposite bank. You can just spot the parasols and tables where you can relax and enjoy watching the antics of the boats passing through the lock.
I hope you have enjoyed this leisurely stroll alongside the Canal du Midi with me.
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