The staircase itself stretches over 280 meters (918 feet), rises 21 meters (70 feet) and has seven locks. It has become a tourist attraction for the town of Beziers. People love to watch the boats going through the locks, and the water rising and falling, taking the boats up or down with it.
We struggled to find the locks with our computer generated instructions, but eventually found them just in time to see three boats enter the locks for their trip up to the top of the staircase. Luckily, we got an early start, because if we had missed these three boats negotiating the system, we would have had to wait a few hours to see some action. Nancy and I went through these locks on our canal trip in 2001. They can be intimidating if it happens that you haven't been through too many locks. But each lock is basically the same as the one before it and by the seventh lock, boaters generally have mastered it.
You get to watch people struggling with ropes, steering their boats in tight quarters, managing to deal with the powerful flow of the water, crews working together or against each other, boats crashing into the sides of the lock, and people from different nations trying to communicate with each other. All in all, it is a spectacle.