The original trip has been modified by adding an extra day in order to make the mileage more suitable for the leisurely cyclist. Toulouse is your point of departure for this journey along the ‘Canal du Midi’, which was classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The journey is one of exceptional beauty; the canal is bordered almost all of the way by plane trees, sometimes pine trees, poplars or cypresses. The canal takes you through the heart of the countryside in both the Midi Pyrenees and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of South-West France. This is an area of extensive farm land and in particular, vineyards. The wine in this region can be superb. There are plenty of opportunities to taste the wine, as well as visit ancient towns and monuments along the way. This particular tour takes in the ancient cities of Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, and Narbonne, all with the comfort of 2* and 3* hotel accommodation.
Click here for cycling the Canal du Midi with 2 stars hotels.
Your day by day program
Arrive at Toulouse and settle into your hotel.
Toulouse is a wonderfully vibrant place and it is well worth spending some time looking around. For those who are interested, we can add an additional night here so that you can enjoy more time in the ‘pink city’ (the colour of the bricks used in many of the houses and monuments gave Toulouse its nickname).
Night in a three star hotel only a short walk away from the heart of the old city.
If you have paid in advance for rental bikes, then they will be delivered at your hotel ready for you to begin your journey today alongside the canal, passing through the city and out into the neighbouring countryside on a smooth tarmac track. Familiarise yourself with the many locks (‘Ecluse’) which abound along the route. Allow yourself time to listen to the many birds that spend their time around the canal, chat to the local fishermen and watch the tourist boats chugging ever so slowly through this idyllic scenery. Spend the night in a delightful two star hotel on the banks of the canal, at Castelnaudary. Dine out on “Cassoulet” which has made this particular town famous throughout France.
This stage is roughly 40 miles.
This is a day which urges you to dawdle! One cannot help but feel at the very heart of the French countryside. The views along the tree-lined canal out towards the agricultural fields and to the Pyrenees beyond make it a special day. You cannot miss the fact that you are entering wine country, with plenty of vineyards within metres from the banks of the canal. The destination for this evening is a real treat. Carcassonne boasts two World Heritage Sites and is really unique. Spend time in the medieval city before heading back to your three star hotel on the banks of the canal.
This stage is under 30 miles.
With an extra day in Carcassonne, you have the opportunity to take it easy and spend more time exploring this fabulous city. For those feeling fit and adventurous, we have prepared a fantastic day’s cycle ride away from the canal, heading into the heart of Cathar country. The ride takes you into the Black Mountains where you can visit the Chateaux de Lastours as well as an underground cave at Limousis which stretches over 1.2km. There are many opportunities to taste the local wines. Return to Carcassonne.
Up to 30 miles round trip with some reasonably steep climbs.
This is a quiet day, leaving the beautiful city of Carcassonne in the direction of the sea. You will cycle through pretty little villages and have the opportunity to taste some local wine along the route.
Night in either Homps or Olonzac. In both locations we use chambre d'hotes with swimming pools. A further rest day could be included here if you so wish.
Distance of approximately 25 miles.
Follow along the locks and through small villages. The vineyards become more numerous along the canal. On this day, you will join the Canal de la Robine, classified as a World Heritage. This canal will take you to the beautiful city of Narbonne where you will spend the night in a three star hotel close to both the canal and the heart of the city.
Night at Narbonne. Hotel ***.
Distance of about 20 or 23 miles depending upon the option chosen.
This day makes for an easy ride and a rewarding one as you reach the Mediterranean with the possibility of a dip in the sea! The purpose built cycle route takes you easily from the centre of Narbonne, and then out through a cluster of lakes before arriving at Port-la-Nouvelle. The Port has a fabulously long golden-sand beach and hosts many restaurants at which you can celebrate the end point of your ride from Toulouse.
For those inclined to finish there, it is possible to take the local train back to Narbonne. Night in Narbonne.
Distance of 14 miles, one-way or 28 miles return to Narbonne.
Possible return journey by train. About 2 hours from Narbonne to Toulouse.
Extra night possible in Toulouse.
Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from the begining of March to the end of October. Departures on mondays with supplement.
- At your hotel in Toulouse.
- End of your holiday in Narbonne.
- 2 star hotel, Chambre d'hôtes and 3 star hotels. All with ensuite facilities.
- From 2 persons only
- Flat itinerary except for the optional loop from Carcassone. From 14 miles to 40 miles per day. Note that the path alongside the canal is mainly a dirt track rather than tarmac.
- Your bag (one per person) is transferred by taxi between the hotels. If hiring a bike, you will be able to pick this up from the start of the holiday in Toulouse and then leave it in Narbonne at the end.
- Bike rental (hybrid bike) including repatriation : 165€
- E-bike rental including repatriation : 205€
- Single room supplement : 250€
- July and August departure : 30€
- Departure a monday : 30€
- GPS tracks on USB stick : 25€
- Hotels, breakfasts, 1 evening meal, luggage transfers, maps and route notes.
- Transfers to the start of the route and from the finishing point, Bike hire, insurance, lunches,city tax, evening meals (except for 1), train travel (about 22€ for the Narbonne to Toulouse journey).
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