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 on smaller roads or along 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 and Archbishop's Palace, Gothic cathedral and 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.
Day 1: Arrival in Montpellier
Individual arrival in Montpellier
Day 2: Montpellier - Sète, ~45 km/28 miles
From the elegant city of Montpellier, we will cycle along the river Lez on a bike path through a bird sanctuary by Palavas to the Mediterranean. Then the way leads us along the Rhone-Sète Canal through the middle of the Camargue Lake District and finally to Frontignan-Plage and Sete.
Day 3: Sète - Beziers, ~60 km/37 miles
We ride along the coastal road to Agde. Visit the old town and the cathedral and then 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 on side roads and country tracks, 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, ~45 km/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, ~35 km/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 the world (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
luggage transport (1 piece per person)
France-Bike security vest
English, French and German speaking guide, Prof. Dr. Dr.c.e. Josef Smets, specialist for French history and culture
guided tour - 7 days / 6 nights
arrival on Sundays
15.03., 19.04., 17.05., 14.06., 13.09. and 11.10.2020
season I (1095 €/person)
15.03. and 11.10.2020
season II (+80 €/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 30€/week
by train: ~25 €/person, with the France-Bike bus (from 4 persons): 60 €/person, bike only - leave your bike in Carcassonne on departure: 20,00 €/bike, other airport transfers possible on request
If the minimum number of 8 participants is not achieved, France-Bike will inform you at least 28 days before the tour start.
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