Capestang is a bustling little town on the Canal du Midi. The name comes from the Latin caput stagni, ‘head of the pond’ because it was built next to a now drained swamp.
The Collegiate Church of St. Etienne was built in the 13th century on the site of a Roman temple by the same builders who constructed the cathedral in Narbonne. Just as in Narbonne, this building too remained unfinished.
Capestang is a popular docking port on the Canal du Midi. The local bridge is very narrow. It is said that if you can get your boat through this bridge, you can pass anywhere on the canal.
There are pleasant walks and cycling routes along the canal. Or you can hire a boat (no licence required) and take a day trip on the water. The church has fine architecture and stained glass windows. The views from the tower are worth the climb. The castle was a summer palace of the Archbishops of Narbonne, with 15th century painted ceilings.
The drive from Le Fort Pouzols-Minervois to Capestang takes around 20 minutes along the D5 (12 miles, 19 km). The lovely town square has bars and restaurants with terraces that are great for a relaxing drink or meal.
There are markets on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. A visit can easily be combined with the nearby towns of Béziers and Narbonne or the Oppidum of Ensérune, the archeological site of a pre-Roman Gallic hill-fort with great views. For more information, visit www.capestang.fr.