Canal de Midi Cycling Holiday, from Toulouse to Sète
Self-Guided Cycling Tour
8 Days / 7 Nights (6 Days Cycling)
Category A: 3* Hotels & B&Bs
Category B: 2* & 3* Hotels & B&Bs
Cycling Distance: 144-150 miles / 230-240 km
Bikes, Electric Bikes, Kids Seats, Trailers & Trailer-Bikes Available
Daily Departures from 27 March to 26 October 2020
B&B from €659, with Discounts for Children
Canal du Midi Cycling Holiday
This cycling holiday along the Canal du Midi is a relaxing tour through the Occitanie region (formed from the historical regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées) in Southern France, starting in Toulouse (“La Ville Rose”) and finishing in Sète on the Mediterranean coast.
The Canal du Midi connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Canal de Garonne) with the Mediterranean Sea. The idea for the canal’s construction dates from the era of the Roman Empire, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that Pierre-Paul Riquet and 12 thousand workers were able to realise the first part of the project and it wasn’t until the 19th century that the link was actually completed!
These days the Canal du Midi is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a haven for cyclists from across the world. The canal is shaded by thousands of large plane trees and boasts some unique and truly breathtaking landscapes. In the distance, views of the peaks of the Pyrenees are a regular companion whilst riding.
Our Canal du Midi cycling tour takes in some of the loveliest stretches of the canal, but also explores some of the picturesque villages and enchanting landscapes of the region, as well as visiting the impressive medieval fortress of Carcassonne.
This cycling holiday includes hand-picked accommodation with breakfast in 2* and 3* hotels and guesthouses at two different categories. It also includes daily luggage transfers, a comprehensive information pack, guide book and emergency support. For those who don’t want to bring their own bike, we also offer good quality hire bikes, including touring and electric bikes, as well as seats, trailers and trailer-bikes for kids.
This is a moderate level tour, suitable for almost everyone with a reasonable level of fitness, including families with children of at least 14 years of age.
Canal du Midi Cycling Holiday: Itinerary
This cycling tour along the Canal du Midi takes you from the “Pink City” of Toulouse to the Mediterranean coast at Sète, the “Venice of Languedoc”. Following the canal towpath and quiet country roads, you will cycle through a landscape of vineyards, lakes and lagoons, passing through lovely towns and villages, including Carcassonne, with it’s world-famous medieval fortress.
Map of the Route – Click to Enlarge
Given the variety of accommodation options and the different routes that may be selected between them, all daily distances are approximate.
Day 1: Arrive Toulouse.
Individual arrival in Toulouse. Your hotel will be available from mid-afternoon and your travel documents will be waiting for you there.
The rose-coloured facades of its buildings give Toulouse an enchanting pink glow that has earned the city the nickname “La Ville Rose” (The Pink City).
Although it’s a major industrial city, Toulouse has a laid-back vibe and the Vieux Quartier (Old Quarter) is a jumble of rose-coloured shopfronts and churches. Stroll on the renowned “Place du Capitole”, lined with architectural landmarks, and visit the UNESCO-listed Basilique Saint-Sernin.
Toulouse is home to a a rich collection of museums built within historical monuments or on former industrial sites. We strongly recommend that you arrive early or book extra nights here.
Day 2: Toulouse - Gardouch (Approx. 27 miles / 43 km).
If you have booked hire bikes, they will be delivered to your hotel after breakfast.
This morning your cycling tour along the Canal du Midi will start with a ride away from the hustle and bustle of Toulouse, out into the peaceful countryside of the Lauragais, an area where the landscape is dotted with picturesque, sleepy villages and where the honking of geese and the peaceful grazing of herds of cattle replace the noise of cars and the crowds of the city.
Day 3: Gardouch - Bram (Approx. 25 or 19 miles / 40 or 50 km).
This morning, you leave the canal to ride along quiet roads, with magnificent views on the canal and countryside, to the Cathar village of Avignonet-Lauragais, then on to Port Lauragais and the watershed between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
You then continue to Castelnaudary, in the heart of the Pays Lauragais. In the 12th century, the town was built around a castle. Besieged twice during the crusade against the Cathars, the castle was razed in 1229.
Castelnaudary is the birthplace of the Canal du Midi: the canal was inaugurated here on 19 May 1681. The town is also the home of the world-famous “Cassoulet” stew – a fact that is celebrated here on the last weekend of August every year!
After visiting Castelnaudary, you will continue through the countryside to the charming abbey of Saint-Papoul, before rejoining the canal in Bram.
The river harbour of Bram is renowned for being the home the largest circulade (traditional village built in concentric circles) in Europe. In the 13th century, the town was besieged by Simon de Montfort. On taking the town, de Montfort cut off the top lip of all of the prisoners and gouged out the eyes of all of them except one, who he left with an eye so that he could guide the rest out of town.
Day 4: Bram - Carcassonne (Approx. 17 miles / 27 km).
Today you will follow the canal towpath to the medieval city of Carcassonne. The old city is classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO and is considered one of the most beautiful fortifications in Europe. This stage has been designed deliberately short, to give you time to explore the city.
Day 5: Carcassonne – Le Somail (Approx. 41 miles / 65 km).
On leaving Carcassonne, you will follow the canal into the famous Minervois wine region. Be sure to visit the Argent double aqueduct at La Redorte. This aqueduct was designed by Vauban and built to drain excess water during floods.
You will follow the canal as it winds its way through rolling vineyards and olive groves. The charming villages follow one another, each with its own little harbor. After passing through Homps, you will continue to Le Somail, with its 17th century ice cellar and library of 50,000 books!
Day 6: Le Somail - Bezier (Approx 35 miles / 55 km).
At the beginning of this stage, you will follow the Canal du Midi and the Canal de la Robine, then ride along quiet country roads through Ouveillan. You will then follow the canal again, as it meanders through the countryside to the lively port of Capestang. In Capestang, you should take the time to visit the collegiate church of Saint-Etienne with its 45 metre-high Gothic bell tower, which dominates the village.
Later, you will follow the canal towpath and cycle through the impressive, 165 metre-long Malpas tunnel (Europe’s first navigable canal tunnel), then down through the nine locks of Fonsérannes, to arrive at Béziers, birthplace of Paul Riquet, the architect of the Canal du Midi.
Day 7: Bezier - Sète (Approx. 35 miles / 55 km).
This morning you will follow the smooth towpath and quiet roads through the Estagnol marshes on the way to Adge. The route passes through the quiet port of Cassagières and you will also have the chance to admire the many constructions works along the canal, such as the lock at Libron and the bridge of Saint-Joseph.
After Agde, you will follow the Hérault river, which flows into the lagoon of Bagnas, before cycling the last stretch of the canal to the Onglous lighthouse, where the waters of the Canal du Midi flow into the Thau Lagoon. From there, you will follow a lovely cycle path along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea to Sète, your final destination.
Nestling between the Mediterranean Sea and the Thau lake, Séte, with its old port, canals, bridges and colourful facades, is nicknamed “The Venice of Languedoc”.
Day 8: Departure from Séte.
This cycling holiday from Toulouse to Sète finishes after breakfast today. If you would like to spend more time in the area, or anywhere else in France, we would be delighted to help. We can arrange guided tours, extra nights and many other services. Please ask for details.
Canal du Midi Cycling Tour: Dates & Prices
This Canal du Midi cycling holiday from Toulouse to Sète departs every day, from 27 March to 26 October 2020. Prices depend on dates and category of accommodation.
Dates & Prices, per Person (pp)
|27 March-30 April|
|1 July-31 August|
|1 May-30 June|
|Half Board (5 Dinners)|
|Hybrid Touring Bike|
*Solo travellers can do this tour without any further supplement.
Check the price in your currency here: XE Currency Converter
Payment for the tour may be made by credit card (Visa or MasterCard), or by transfer to our Spanish bank.
We do not charge a handling fee if you pay by credit card.
- Child or adult sharing room with 2 other adults:
- Up to 4 years: 70%.
- 5-11 years: 50%.
- 12-17 years: 30%.
- Over 17 years: 10%.
This Canal du Midi cycling holiday includes:
- 7 nights hotel accommodation in specially-selected hotels & B&Bs, with breakfast.
- Daily luggage transfers.
- Route information, maps and roadbook.
- GPS tracks of the routes.
- All local tourist taxes.
- Hotline service, 7 days a week.
The following services are not included in the price of this cycling holiday, but we would be delighted to help you to organise them:
- Travel to Toulouse and from Sète, including flights and transfers.
- Dinners, lunches drinks and snacks. (Half-board available).
- Bike hire.
- Entrance fees for tourist attractions.
- Travel insurance.
Canal du Midi Cycling Holiday: Accommodation
There are 2 distinct levels of accommodation available on this cycling holiday from Bordeaux to Toulouse:
- Category A: 3* hotels and B&Bs.
- Category B: 3* and 2* hotels and B&Bs.
All of the hotels that we use are specially selected for their standards of service, warmth of welcome and character. All rooms have en-suite facilities and free WIFI.
Your reserved accommodation will usually be confirmed at the same time as your reservation.
Please see the “Itinerary” tab for links to examples of hotels and B&Bs.
Canal du Midi Cycle Tour: Travel
Getting to Toulouse & from Sète
This cycling holiday along the Canal du Midi starts in Toulouse and ends in Sète.
Toulouse has an international airport, with regular direct flights from many European cities. A regular shuttle departs for the city center every 20 minutes (€8 per person). The journey takes from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
To get to Toulouse by train takes 5.5 hours from Paris, 4 hours from Marseille, 4.5 hours from Lyon and 2 hours from Bordeaux. Please check trainline.eu.
If travelling by car, Toulouse is approximately 7 hours from Paris. Parking in the city is very expensive. The weekly rate in all of the secure city centre car parks is €118, for 7 days. It is possible to park at the Radisson Blu Hotel (at the airport) for €50. (You can book a spot on the hotel website.)
Trains from Séte back to Toulouse depart hourly. The journey time is usually between two and three hours. Tickets cost from €15. Direct trains need to be booked in advance and have a surcharge of €10 per bike. Regional trains require a change in Narbonne. There is no need to book regional trains in advance and they carry bikes without extra charge.
Sète is 30 minutes away from Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport and 45 min from Béziers-Cap d’Agde airport. Both airports have direct flights from some European cities.
We would be very happy to arrange your flights and / or transfers. Please ask for details.
Canal du Midi Cycling Holiday: Bikes
Touring bikes are available in various sizes in unisex/women’s or men’s models. We can also supply electric bikes, as well as child seats, bike trailers and trailer bikes.
- Combination lock.
- 20-litre rear pannier (x 1).
- Handlebar bag.
- Repair kit (spare inner tube, glue, patch, pump, allen keys, tyre levers) x 1 per room.
Hire bikes are supplied from the morning of day 2 until the evening of day 7. On payment of a supplement, they may be reserved for longer if extra nights are booked at the beginning or end of the tour.
Click Above to View a Gallery & Below to View a Video of the Hire Bikes
Please note that you are solely responsible for all damage to the bike or for its loss. Any damage to or loss of a bike will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and you may be required to contribute to or pay for repair or replacement.
It is compulsory in France for children under 12 years of age to wear a helmet when cycling or being carried as a passenger on a bike. They are not compulsory for children over 11 years of age or adults. However, we recommend that everyone wears one and we can supply them free of charge if requested in advance.
Please see “Dates & Prices” for hire charges.
Canal du Midi Cycling Tour: More Info
This Canal du Midi cycling holiday is a moderate tour that should be achievable by even novice cyclists with a reasonable level of fitness. The route is easy to follow throughout and is generally flat, smooth and traffic-free. In places the canal towpath is a dirt track, that is sometimes bumpy or muddy. This is an unescorted cycle tour. The mileages given are approximate and are based on the suggested routes. Daily baggage transfers are included in the price of this cycling holiday from Toulouse to Sète. There is no limit on the number of pieces of luggage that can be transported, but the maximum weight of each piece of luggage must not exceed 20 kg. The weather in south-western France can be very changeable. Please check the weather forecasts and be prepared. Except in summer, it will almost always be necessary to carry a waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers may also be required at times. A sun hat and sunscreen are often also essential. All items carried on the bike should be wrapped in plastic to avoid soaking.
This Canal du Midi cycling holiday is a moderate tour that should be achievable by even novice cyclists with a reasonable level of fitness. The route is easy to follow throughout and is generally flat, smooth and traffic-free. In places the canal towpath is a dirt track, that is sometimes bumpy or muddy.
This is an unescorted cycle tour. The mileages given are approximate and are based on the suggested routes.
Daily baggage transfers are included in the price of this cycling holiday from Toulouse to Sète. There is no limit on the number of pieces of luggage that can be transported, but the maximum weight of each piece of luggage must not exceed 20 kg.
The weather in south-western France can be very changeable. Please check the weather forecasts and be prepared. Except in summer, it will almost always be necessary to carry a waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers may also be required at times. A sun hat and sunscreen are often also essential.
All items carried on the bike should be wrapped in plastic to avoid soaking.