Cycle along Europe's most beautiful canal. Our favourite bike tour in category 'de Luxe'.
The Canal du Midi is undoubtedly the most beautiful canal in France and Europe. It was built by Pierre Paul Riquet between 1667 and 1681 in order to link the Mediterranean to Atlantic Ocean. This idea had already been dreamt of by the Romans but was only carried out sixteen centuries later and even at that time was a considerable technological achievement. All along the 260 km of canal situated in the South of France with its 64 locks, you will come across authentic and varied landscapes where time seems to stand still silent. Cars and industry are missing, here the bicycle reigns, riding along smaller roads or the towpath under century old plane trees. France-Bike has however extended this bike tour for even more highlights in 2014, you’ll now also discover 2 other canals dating from the 18th Century, namely the Canal de la Robine to Narbonne, and the Rhone-Sète canal between Montpellier and Sète. This section alone has it all, as the canal leads through the heart of the lakes and marshland area, so typical of the Mediterranean. Flamingos, herons, gulls and countless other species of birds accompany you as soon as you set off. Culture and architecture fans are in for a treat: Visit elegant Montpellier, the lively port and fishing town of Sète, the Greek town of Agde with its Romanesque fortified church, Bezier’s Cathedral and beautiful old town, Narbonne with the Archbishop's Palace, the Gothic cathedral and the underground Roman storage facilities, and lastly Carcassonne with the most powerful medieval double fortification in Europe (UNESCO World Heritage). The tour is of course also a culinary journey of discovery through the varied and excellent southern cuisine. Discover new places, new smells, get some fresh air, look around you and relax on your bicycle while at the same time undertaking an activity which is good for your mind and body. This promenade along the water’s edge away from traffic will allow you to meet local people and other tourists and to appreciate the wonderful local cuisine. You can make this trip longer and ride along the whole Canal du Midi via Castelnaudary to Toulouse, the red city on the Garonne River.
Day 1: Arrival in Montpellier
Individual arrival in Montpellier. At the reception you will receive your traveler documents.
Day 2: Montpellier - Sète, ~45 km/28 miles
At 9:30am we will be at your hotel to adjust your rental bike and to give you all the necessary information about your tour. From the elegant city of Montpellier you will cycle along the Lez River on a bike path through a bird sanctuary to Palavas and the Mediterranean Sea. Then the way leads you along the Rhone-Sète Canal through the middle of a beautiful Lake District and finally to Frontignan-Plage and Sete.
Day 3: Sète - Beziers, ~60 km/37 miles
This morning you should not forget to take your bathing togs. Because in the morning you ride along the beach on a perfect bike lane to Agde. Here you can visit the old town and the cathedral made of black stones. From here you follow the Canal du Midi to Beziers.
Day 4: Béziers - Narbonne, ~45 km/28 miles
Via the bridge over the river Orb you reach the 7 locks at Fonséranes. Continue your ride along the canal, past the Celtic oppidum of Ensérune and an imposing Gothic church in Capestang. You continue on little roads and paths through the vineyards to Narbonne.
Day 5: Narbonne - Homps, ~40 or 45 km/25 or 28 miles
Visit the old town of Narbonne and its famous ancient monuments like the archbishop’s palace and the Gothic cathedral. Then you ride along the Canal de la Robine and on little roads to the Canal du Midi, which leads you to the little village of Homps, or a little bit further on to La Redorte or Olonzac.
Day 6: Homps - Carcassonne, ~40 or 35 km/25 or 22 miles
Today you continue to follow the Canal du Midi until you reach the fascinating, historical city of Carcassonne, the famous medieval walled town with its 2 circular walls and a huge medieval fortress, the largest one in Europe (World Heritage Site).
Day 7: Departure from Carcassonne
Get back to Montpellier by train or France-Bike Bus and finish your holiday or stay longer in Carcassonne or Montpellier or elsewhere. We can help you find accommodation for this.
6 nights in carefully chosen 3 *** and 4**** hotels in category superior
luggage transport (1 piece per person) from hotel to hotel
carefully chosen roads and paths
detailed documentation, brochures, plans, maps, etc.
GPS tracks (on request)
France-Bike signs along the route
France-Bike security vest
self-guided tour - 7 days / 6 nights
arrival every day
season I (995 €/person in double)
season II (+80 €/person)
season III (+120 €/person)
route (1)-(2): ~230 km/142 miles
on flat roads that anybody can do, on tarmaced cycle paths and quiet back roads, sometimes on track towpath along the canal
how to get there
by car: motorway A7, exit Montpellier Est
by train: station Montpellier, direct from Paris with TGV
by plane: airport Montpellier, direct from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Copenhagen and Stockholm
in hotel garage on request (approx. 15 €/day), no reservation possible
from Carcassonne to Montpellier with France-Bike bus for 260 €/drive, 4 persons minimum / 7persons maximum, on request, no transfer on Saturdays from 04.07. to 05.09.2020
some of our bike tour suggestions