Cycle along Europe's most beautiful canal - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Canal du Midi is undoubtedly the most beautiful canal in 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, Béziers Cathedral and beautiful old town, Narbonne and Archbishop's Palace, Gothic cathedral and underground Roman storage facilities, Carcassonne with the most powerful medieval double fortification in Europe (UNESCO World Heritage) and finally Toulouse, the red city on the Garonne River. And this 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.
Day 1: 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/27 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: Carcassonne - Castelnaudary, ~40 km/25 miles
You continue to ride along the Canal du Midi to Castelnaudary, home town of the famous Cassoulet. The landscape changes and the vineyards are replaced by fields of sunflowers and corn. On the right side you can see the little mountain chain of the ‘Montagne Noir’, where the canal gets its water from.
Day 8: Castelnaudary - Lake St. Férréol - Castelnaudary, ~50 km/31 miles
On little roads you ride to the strategic point of the Canal project, the lake St. Férréol, built in the 17th century. Then you go on to the medieval town of Revel with one of the nicest market halls in France, before riding back to Castelnaudary.
Day 9: Castelnaudary - Toulouse, ~65 km/41 miles
This is the last day that you ride along the Canal du Midi. Once more you enjoy the beautiful landscape and the nice, little villages that you are passing on your way to Toulouse. The Canal du Midi will accompany you until the very center of that beautiful city, so that you don’t need to mind any traffic. And your hotel in downtown Toulouse is only a few meters from the canal.
Day 10: Departure from Toulouse
Get back to Montpellier by train or France-Bike bus and finish your holiday or make some extra days in Toulouse or in Sète or elsewhere. We can help you to find a solution for this.
9 nights in carefully chosen 3 *** and 4**** hotels
luggage transport (1 piece per person)
carefully chosen roads and paths
detailed documentation, brochures, plans, maps, etc.
France-Bike signs along the route
GPS tracks on request
France-Bike security vest
self-guided tour - 10 days / 9 nights
arrival on Sundays
season I (995 €/person in double)
season II (+60 €/person)
season III (+90 €/person)
"arrival any day“
possible 4 persons minimum or with supplement 80 €/person for 3 travelers and 120 €/person for 2 travelers
route (1)-(2): ~385 km/240 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: highway to Montpellier
by train: station Montpellier, direct von Paris with TGV
by plane: airport Montpellier, direct from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Copenhagen and Stockholm
free in hotel garage on request, in July and August 50 € for 10 days
from Toulouse to Montpellier with France-Bike bus for 90 €/person, 4 persons minimum, on request, transfer rental bike for 30 €/bike, no transfer on Saturdays from 29.06. to 31.08.2019, back by train for ~35 €/person
some of our bike tour suggestions