Cycling the Canal du Midi in France

Taking a break from cycling the Canal du Midi | Michelle Vanderkroft
Taking a break from cycling the Canal du Midi | Michelle Vanderkroft

Cycling the Canal du Midi in France

One of our wonderful travellers, Michelle, shared an account of her cycling trip along the Canal du Midi in France in 2022.
Taking a break from cycling the Canal du Midi |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>
We had a fabulous time and just finished before the big heat wave hit Europe.  
The hotel in Toulouse was lovely and very central. We only arrived the afternoon before but had enough time to have a walk around the city and enjoy a really nice meal.
Next morning we must have been at breakfast when the bikes were delivered as we didn’t get to see anyone. I chose an e-bike as I have a problem knee and my husband decided to join me and it turned out to be a very good choice!
Enjoying the Mediterranean climate |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>
The first day cycling to Castelnaudary was quite long (around 70kms) and we were quite exhausted by the time we got there. The hotel was located a little out of town so unfortunately we only got to see the town when cycling through to find the hotel and it was quite late when we got there. We decided to have dinner at the hotel restaurant which was very nice, good food and service.
Parking the bikes by the Canal du Midi |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>

The day through to Carcassonne was great and not such a big day.  The hotel was in a great location and a very short walk to the walls.  We have plenty of time to explore and enjoy the city and relax.
Delicious French pastries at a bakery |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i> Carcassonne only 32km away! |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i> Following the Canal du Midi through France |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>

Next day to Homps again was a nice distance but was a very hot day.  The navigation app was great. I bought a little rubber phone holder to go on the front of the bike (10 euros) and it really was helpful with the GPS to see where we were and to make sure we were on track, taking us straight to our hotel.

Canal du Midi cycling |  <i>adt11</i>
Next day to Beziers was a big day, again around 70kms and if we didn’t have e-bikes I don’t think we would have made it.  A steep hill up to the city and to the hotel.  We enjoyed our evening in Beziers and had a great tapas meal.  The hotel was good and very central.
The hotels on the Canal du Midi are a tranquil retreat |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>
Last day to the Med, we took a little side trip straight to sea to have a look, celebrate our arrival and enjoyed a great lunch at a typical seaside town.  The ride along the coast through to Sete was fabulous and Sete was a beautiful surprise and lovely town.  The hotel again was great, central and having a canal view room was the icing on the cake.
View from the hotel in Sete |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>
The track really is a variety of all types of paths to ride along.  Starting in Toulouse it was very easy from the hotel to navigate straight to the canal and we were out of the city quite quickly.  The path was wide and easy. 
On other days, the paths were a variety of dried mud tracks, grass, and some places very close to the canal, one wrong move and you could be in the canal.  Very rough in parts for very long periods, more like mountain bike riding for hours!  So not for someone expecting a leisurely ride each day on smooth paths.  They are trying to upgrade parts of the track which is a big improvement but is a work in progress and I imagine will take some time.

Discovering the waterways of France by bike |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>
Overall we did 298km during trip but we absolutely loved having e-bikes. We loved the mixture of small villages to cities and spectacular sights. Seeing Carcassonne for the first time crossing the bridge on our bikes was a wow moment. The breakfasts were plentiful, typically French and filling.
Exploring the cute canal in Sete, France |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>
All of the meals we had along the way were fantastic, I love France so enjoyed practising my French. Europe is busy and full of travellers.
Proud moment to reach the Mediterranean after a great bike trip! |  <i>Michelle Vanderkroft</i>


About the Canal du Midi Cycle

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.

How does a French cycling trip sound to you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Canal du Midi, France, Cycling the Canal du Midi, Traveller Tale, Cycle France

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