As you stroll around the quayside, you can see the old hangars where grain was stored before loading it onto the boats. There is also our harbour master’s office which welcomes and guides pleasure boaters throughout the year.
Castelnaudary Port, beyond its technical role, was also the hub for commercial operations, such as freight negotiations, payments to the canal administration, loading and delivery of goods and the boarding of passengers on the post boats.
From the 17th century, along with Toulouse, it was the province’s most important grain market. Not only was Castelnaudary at the heart of one of the rare grain surplus regions in the South of France, it also benefited by exporting its surplus to the dioceses of Lavaur and Albi and to part of the diocese of Saint-Pons. A meeting point for the canal administration, the independent craft industry, boat fitters and merchants, Castelnaudary was very busy. It remained a place of transit, a meeting point between the canal and routes which were impractical.
The construction of the new road from Castelnaudary to Mazères (towards the south-west) lead to redevelopments in the town. In 1783, a plan to modify the route of the canal and build a new bridge was considered for trade requirements. Work began in 1786 and ended in 1791. The construction of this road gave the town a new port, a new bridge and a large avenue, which is now the Cours de la République.
Today, the port remains a very pleasant place to travel through and it reminds us of the time when trade on the Canal du Midi was particularly busy.