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, and Carcassonne all with the comfort of 2* hotel accommodation.
Click here for cycling the Canal du Midi with higher standard 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 and a cycle loop to take you around the ‘pink city’ (the colour of the bricks used in many of the houses and monuments gave Toulouse its nickname).
Night in a two 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 two star hotel, at walking distance from "La Cité".
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.
The trip ends after breakfast at your hotel in Carcassonne
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from March to October. Departures on monday with supplement.
- At your hotel in Toulouse.
- At your hotel in Carcassonne.
- 3 star hotels with one 2 star hotel en route. All with ensuite facilities.
- From 2 persons only.
- Flat itinerary except for the optional loop from Carcassonne. Between 30 - 40 miles a 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.
- Bike rental (hybrid bike) including repatriation : 100€
- E-bike rental including rapatriation : 130€
- Single room supplement : 140€
- Departure a monday : 30€
- GPS tracks on USB stick : 25€
- Hotels, breakfasts, luggage transfers, maps and route notes.
- Transfers to the start of the route and from the finishing point, insurance, lunches, evening meals,city taxes, the return train to Toulouse.
Coast to Coast - From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean
Canal du Midi - Canal de Garonne - The Atlantic Coast - Seas and rivers - Leisure cycling - Culture & gastronomy - 14 days / 13 nights