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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 6 nights hotels
Meals
  • 6 Breakfasts

7 Days£950GBP

Overview

Trip Code: CDM

Trip highlights


  • Travelling from Toulouse to Sète by bike
  • Experiencing the outstanding scenery and small villages enroute
  • Exploring Carcassonne and discovering the legends of the Cathars
  • Enjoying the culinary specialties
  • Delighting in the warm hospitality of the hotel owners

The Canal du Midi was built by Pierre Paul Riquet in the 17th century, overcoming great obstacles to connect the Mediterranean with the Atlantic through the Garonne Canal. The best way to appreciate all facets of the canal is by bike. Stretching 240km from Toulouse to Sète, the canal travels through a landscape rich in architectural and cultural treasures. Discover the legends of the Cathars as you cycle to Carcassonne, one of Europe's most impressive medieval cities. Immerse yourself in the pretty tree lined canal scenery and the culinary delights of small villages. At day's end your luggage awaits you in a range of specially chosen family run hotels and with the relaxed pace of the cycling there will be time for sightseeing or soaking up the atmosphere in a local café.

Countries:

France

Starting Point:

Toulouse

Finishing Point:

Sete


Itinerary

On arrival in Toulouse, make your way to the joining hotel. Toulouse is France’s fourth largest city and has a rich heritage. Known for its ultra modern aerospace industry, it also has a charming centre, distinctive for its rose-red brick buildings. Take time to visit some of the city's great sites including St Sernin church, the largest Romanesque church in France, ‘Capitole’ square, and numerous other examples of fine architecture. Your bikes will be available either late in the afternoon or the morning of Day 2 from the nearby bike shop. Overnight Toulouse.

Meals:  Nil

‘The pink city’ of Toulouse is where the ‘Canal du Midi’ begins. Using your directions and maps you'll navigate the route that travels mainly along the canal banks, initially passing through Lauragais country with its numerous farms. Take a break in Avignonet, scene of battles during the Albigensian crusades and with several medieval remains, statues of crusaders and churches. This region is particularly famous for its gastronomy. Your destination today is Castelnaudary, famous for its Cassoulet. (Monday is market day in Castelnaudary.) Ascent 100m, descent 35m

Meals:  B

Today's cycle takes you through the heart of Cathar country along original, thousand year old tow paths to the river harbour of Bram. The landscape changes from cornfields to vineyards. You'll pass old villages and the Béteille and Lalande locks. Carcassonne and its impressive medieval citadel is a highlight of the tour. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, you should plan to spend some time exploring the one of the most beautiful fortifications of Europe. Ascent 50m, descent 100m

Meals:  B

After visiting Carcassonne you go back to the peace and quiet of the Canal. Along the cycle path today you can admire the bridge at Orbiel, the overflow of canal water at Argendouble and the church Saint Etienne at Trebes. Take a rest in the Gallic village of Marseillette and walk over to Capendu (just over 2km) to view the remains of the 13th century Roman chapel. Continue through undulating vineyards to your destination of Homps. Ascent 25m, descent 125m

Meals:  B

From the lock at Argens you'll follow a winding path along the hillside to the hamlet of Le Somail, where you can take a break and visit the old library. Continue along the Canal de la Robine to Capestang with its collegiate church, visible from afar. From the tower there are views of the sea and a nearby 14th century castle. As you cycle once again you will pass some Gallo-Roman remains, the village of Poilhes la Romaine and ancient hill town of Oppidum d'Ensérune. You can also admire the Malpas tunnel and the nine locks of Foncerannes en route to your destination, the township of Béziers, known particularly for wine and bullfighting. You can enjoy great views from the cathedral. Ascent 75m, descent 50m

Meals:  B

Although the sea is not yet visible, you can sense it. The landscape becomes flatter and you will encounter dunes, swamps and lagoons. In this coastal region you will pass the unique Pont Bache du Libron and the round lock of Agde. At Agde you cross the Herault river and head towards the Thau Lagoon. The Canal du Midi ends at the lighthouse in Onglous. From Marseillan you cycle along the beach to Sete, the last stop on your cycle trip. Sete is a major fishing port and is well know for its beaches. We recommend visiting the large covered market, and there are many seafood restaurants near the harbour. Ascent 25m, descent 75m

Meals:  B

Your trip concludes after breakfast. Or if you'd like to stay an extra night, please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 6 breakfasts – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices.
  • 6 nights in 2 and 3 star hotels (CAT B) on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities (upgrade to 3 and 4 star hotels CAT A - supplement applies)
  • Hybrid rental bike, equipped with panniers, pump, helmet, anti-theft device & repair kit (electric bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Luggage transfer (1 piece of max 20kgs per person)
  • Information pack including smartphone app with maps plus a route book per room booked
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Toulouse and from Sète
  • Dinners & lunches daily
  • Drinks and other items of a personal nature
  • Storage of luggage and parking
  • Transfers
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided trip
  • Travel insurance

Bike information


Suitability

moderate

3

The cycling is moderate (3) grade with daily cycles of around 42 to 64km. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a reasonable level of cycling fitness to participate fully in this adventure. The route is along gradually undulating to flat bicycle paths, tow paths, side roads and country roads. Where there are no bicycle paths there are a few, short sections on streets with heavy traffic. Part of the route is on unpaved surfaces and you will need to be careful of tree roots and rocks which can create additional challenges! Some sections can become alarmingly narrow at times. Sections of the route are affected by the tree replacement program with detours in place. You need only carry your camera and water bottle. Your luggage is transported for you between hotels. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.


Departure dates

Daily from 15 Apr to 15 Oct

Total Priceper person from

£950GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Upgrade supplement - 3-4 star hotels ppGBP£28
  • e-bike supplementGBP£70
  • Single Supplement - Cat B hotelsGBP£300
  • Single Traveller surcharge - Cat B hotelsGBP£320
  • Single Supplement - Cat A hotelsGBP£330
  • Single Traveller surcharge - Cat A hotelsGBP£350
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.