Canal du Midi Cycling Holiday

  • 5.0
    (1 review)
  • Category

    Cycle Touring
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely
  • Duration/s

    6 or 9 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Sete / Toulouse
  • Distance

    216 miles/347 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeFamilyRivers and Lakes
  • Accommodation

    Comfort
  • Tour code

    051-101CFR
Price From £707

Overview

The Canal du Midi by bike – a wonderful cycling trip packed with natural beauty and many highlights. Unwind as you cycle along the tow path, stopping in medieval villages and historic riverside towns such as Castelnaudary and Carcassonne along the way. Choose between 6 and 9 night options.

The 17th century canal was built to link the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Culture and tradition, architectural treasures as well as some fine French cuisine await you, as you pedal through a colourful and striking landscape. We’ll provide maps of course but they are almost redundant as the canal is always there, highlighting the way.

Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi

Cycle along the canal’s and the towpath, nodding at the odd barge owner coming in the other direction. At regular intervals small villages materialize with tempting cafes and bistros enticing you to stop for a coffee, a snack or a meal and a glass of wine.

The trip is along towpaths which can be ‘rippled in places with some paved sections and quiet roads. It is mainly flat with just a few small hills to negotiate and is suitable for all cyclists, including families.  

Itinerary & Map

Most of the trip is along towpaths with some paved sections and quiet roads. It is mainly flat with just a few small hills to negotiate and is suitable for all cyclists, including families. Sections of the tow path are rippled in places!

There are two duration options – 7 days/6 nights and 10 days/9 nights. If you opt for the shorter trip your tour will finish in Carcassonne after breakfast on day 7 of the below itinerary. If you opt for the longer version then your tour will finish after breakfast on day 10.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrive Sète

Sete - Languedoc - France*

Sète

Arrive in the port town of Sete at your leisure and settle into your hotel. Situated between Lake Thau to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the town feels a little like an an island. In the evening there will be a welcome briefing when you will also receive your rental bike/s.

Day 2: Sète – Cap d’Agde, 22 miles/35 kms

Lake Thau - Herault

Lake Thau – Herault

Your first day’s ride is a nice easy one, leading you southwest along the narrow strip of land separating Lake Thau from the Mediterranean. It is mostly on asphalted paths and roads. There is a beach to your left for most of the ride so if the sun is out you might want to break up the ride with a dip in the Med – don’t forget to pack your swim stuff in your pannier today. At the end of the ride you arrive in the bustling yacht harbour of Cap d’Agde. The harbour itself is enormous and well worth a wander around to admire some of the sumptuous craft bobbing at their moorings.

Day 3: Cap d’Agde – Béziers, 25 miles/40 kms

Beziers - Languedoc - France*

Béziers

Today you leave the coast behind and start your journey inland alongside the Canal du Midi on the tow path as you head westwards. The last section is on asphalted roads. Before long you will reach the pleasant town of Béziers where you will overnight. The many wine bars in the old town are testament to the region’s wine growing prowess – the town is also the birthplace of Paul Riquet who masterminded the building of the Canal du Midi in the 17th century.

Day 4: Béziers – Narbonne, 28 miles/45 kms

Lake Montady

Lake Montady

The path alongside the canal leads you west again today followed by nice country roads for the the last section. Just after passing through the small village of Colombiers you will see the bizarre Etang de Montady, a drained lagoon that is now a circle of fields all radiating from the same central point. We recommend investing in the short climb to the Oppidum d’Enserune close to the towpath for a great view of this novel agricultural arrangement. After a few more kilometers of relaxed cycling along the canal you arrive in the pleasant village of Capestang. Take time to explore this delightful village before heading southwards  across open farmland to spend the night in the ancient city of Narbonne

Day 5: Narbonne – Homps/Olonzac, 28 miles/45 kms

Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi

If you missed it yesterday we recommend a wander round the atmospheric old town where you can also marvel at the city’s famous cathedral. Leaving Narbonne you rejoin the Canal du Midi for an enjoyable day’s riding through open countryside to Homps. Along the way you will pass through small, sleepy canal-side  villages such as  Paraza, Roubia and Argen Minervois, any of which are perfect for a relaxing coffee break. You’ll spend the night in the village of  Olonzac close to the Canal.

Day 6: Olonzac – Carcassonne, 26 miles/42 kms

Easy Cycling Holidays in Europe

Carcassonne

Pedal on the shady tow path which is unpaved  for most of the day. Today is a very peaceful ride as the canal passes through open countryside with only the odd small village along the way. Towards the end of the ride you reach the pretty town of Trebes, closely followed by Carcassonne, a medieval fortified town that really looks the part. Set on a hill beside the canal and ringed by battlements complete with keep and drawbridge, the place could be the set for a Hollywood blockbuster. Inside the walls you can wander the narrow cobbled streets, sit at a cafe in the square and absorb the atmosphere or admire the view from the battlements.

Day 7: Carcassonne. Free day or rountrip Montolieu, 25 miles/40 kms

6 night/7 day tour ends after breakfast.

Montolieu - Languedoc - Roussillon - France*

Montolieu

Today you have a choice – you can either relax and enjoy a day exploring Carcassonne or you can opt for a circular ride out to the artisan village of Montolieu. This pretty little place, located in gently rolling countryside north of Carcassonne is home to many artists, sculptors and photographers. It is also sometimes referred to as the village of books as there are no less than 15 antique book shops in this pretty hamlet. Afterwards you return to to Carcassonne for your second night in this historic town.

Day 8: Carcassonne – Castelnaudary, 25 miles/40 kms

Castelnaudary

Castelnaudary

If you opt for the shorter 6 night version of the tour your trip ends after check out.
From Carcasonne the canal winds it’s way westwards through a fertile landscape. The trees along the towpath provide shade and a pleasant dappled light to your ride. Your destination is the bustling riverside town of Castelnaudary. The town grew up and thrived as a trading point for goods being transported up and down the canal and is still a busy market town today. Its main claim to fame however is being the world capital of Cassoulet, a traditional local dish that to be authentic must be prepared in an earthenware pot and cooked in a baker’s oven. Ingredients do vary, but duck, goose confit, and sausages usually feature as do haricot beans – probably not the best thing if you are on a low cholesterol diet but very tempting after a day in the saddle!

Day 9: Castelnaudary – Toulouse, 37 miles/60 kms

Toulouse - St. Serin

St. Serin – Toulouse

It’s the last day of your cycling adventure and today you take on the longest cycling day of the trip as you travel the last 60km to Toulouse. Known as the ‘pink-city’ due to the abundance of rosy-red brick buildings Toulouse is steeped in history and has one of the largest Roman churches in Europe. Alternatively, you could take the tour of the Airbus Factory on the outskirts of town and/or visit Cité de l’Espace, an excellent and informative space museum. Enjoy a celebratory meal on the town’s bustling square before retiring to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Day 10: Toulouse – end of trip

After breakfast it’s time to head for home or your next adventure

Dates & Prices

2018 Arrival Dates
Arrivals every Saturday from 07 April to 22 September

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2018 Prices
051-101CFR
Per person
07 Apr
to
22 Jun
23 Jun
to
31 Aug
01 Sep
to
22 Sep
6 Nights
Comfort category
Double/twin £707 £745 £707                
Single £910 £948 £910                
Superior category
Double/twin £823 £919 £823                
Single £1094 £1190 £1094                
9 Nights
Comfort category
Double/twin £963 £1016 £963                
Single £1214 £1268 £1214                
Superior category
Double/twin £1248 £1345 £1248                
Single £1519 £1616 £1519                
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Deposit per person £150

Price Includes

6 or 9 nights accommodation. See notes
Board basis: Bed & Breakfast
Luggage transfer
Maps & route information
Welcome meeting
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Cycle helmet

Supplements

Half board, 6 nights, comfort (£198)
Half board, 6 nights, superior (£275)
Half board, 9 nights, comfort (£275)
Half board, 9 nights, superior (£413)
Extra night Sete, double/twin (£71)
Extra night Sete, single (£107)
Extra night Toulouse double/twin (£67)
Extra night Toulouse single (£101)
Bike with pannier & lock, 6 nts (£88)
Bike with pannier & lock, 9 nts (£121)
Electric bike with pannier & lock, 6 nights (£187)
Electric bike with pannier & lock, 9 nights (£231)

Notes

Comfort: A mix of 2 to 3 star hotels, inns and guesthouses
Superior: A mix of 3 to 4 stars hotels and guesthouses

Practical Information

Bikes

Mens city bike

Example of bike used on this tour

The bikes provided on this tour are modern, alloy framed hybrid models with 7 or 21 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position. The bikes also come equipped with rear pannier, lock, and repair kit and handlebar bag with map holder. Helmets are not provided and we therefore recommend bringing your own.

Children under the age of 12 are required to wear a helmet in France and we always advocate their use for riders of all ages.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Comfort: Pleasant  2 to 3 star hotels with en-suite facilities.

Sete: Hotel L’Orque Bleue
Le Cap d’Agde: Hotel Les Grenadines
Beziers: Hotel Imperator
Narbonne: Hotel du Midi
Olonzac: Villa Limonade
Carcassonne: Hotel Du Soleil le Terminus
Castelnaudary: Hotel le Clos Fleuri
Toulouse: Hotel Royal Wilson

 

Getting There

Fly to Montpellier, Perpignan or Toulouse and then take a train to Sète.

Research flights from the UK here.

Research train connections here.

Gallery

Current rating for this cycling holiday based on 1 review 5.0
  • Date - 26/04/2017
  • Name - Ernest Munro
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - Well organised and no real problems apart from a couple of the hotels we visited .
  • Product rating -
    5.0
  • Product comment - Well organised and had no real problems apart from 2 poor hotel experiences.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the feedback Ernest. I'm glad you enjoyed your holiday on the whole and regret the holiday was marred by your experience at two hotels. I'm glad we were able to resolve the matter to your satisfaction in the end though.