Embark on a unique nature and culture trip in Southern France! This easy, self-guided bike tour will take you along the plane tree lined banks of France's historic Canal du Midi, allowing you to marvel at its beautiful landscapes and cultural sights. Built in the 17th century, the canal's elaborate structures, ranging from aqueducts and bridges to watergates, water channels, and mills, stand as true masterpieces of technical engineering. Along the way, discover the ancient Roman city of Narbonne, the medieval old towns of Carcassonne and Castelnaudary, and the Romanic abbeys overlooking the canal. Our customizable itineraries allows you to start your tour in Toulouse, Sète, Narbonne or Carcassonne, and extend your trip at our beach hotel in Port-la-Nouvelle at the Mediterranean Sea.
The following itinerary is an example. You may choose to start your tour in Toulouse, Sète, Narbonne or Carcassonne, and feel free to shorten or extend your trip.
If you would like to bring your dog, we recommend the following itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival
Your host Anne will pick you up at Narbonne train station or welcome you at her guest house where you will enjoy a delicious homemade meal.
Tag 2: Narbonne – Béziers or Mediterranean Sea
Your first bike tour will take you to Béziers, birth place of the canal's architect Pierre-Paul Riquet, passing some of the Canal du Midi's most impressive structures such as the Quarante aqueduct, the Répudre bridge and the Fonséranes embankments. Upon request, your host will pick you up in Béziers and take you back to your guest house.
Distance: approx. 50km/31mi
Head out towards the Mediterranean Sea following the Canal de Jonction and the Canal de la Robine. Along the way be sure to visit Narbonne, its historic city centre, its colourful market, the Palais des Archevêques, and the Horreum romain, before continuing on toward the beautiful island of Saint Lucie. Located south of the Etang de Bages-Sigean, the island is part of the Narbonnaise en Méditerranée nature reserve. Upon request, your host will pick you up in Port la Nouvelle after the tour.
Distance: approx. 45km/27mi
Day 3: Narbonne – Minerve – Homps
Today's itinerary will take you to the ancient rock city Minerve, whose early records date back 170,000 years and where the Cathars took refuge from Simon de Montfort and his crusaders. Head on toward Puichéric and Homps where you will be expected at your next accommodation.
Distance: approx. 45km/27mi
Day 4: Homps – Carcassonne
Follow the banks of the Canal du Midi toward Carcassonne, passing several watergates and visiting three famous canal structures: the Argentdouble, the Pont-Canal d'Orbiel and the watergate of Fresquel. Spend the next two nights at the foot or in the heart of Carcassonne's world famous historic city centre.
Distance: approx. 30km/18mi
Day 5: Carcassonne
Explore the medieval city of Carcassonne, its tall fortified walls, historic castle, narrow alleyways, arenas and diverse arts and crafts shops, and enjoy a traditional lunch in one of the city's many excellent restaurants. In the afternoon, discover the new town (Ville Basse), its busy streets, the bastion Saint Louis and its beautiful market, and visit the Maison des mémoires to learn about the life and fate of the medieval Cathars.
Day 6: Carcassonne – Castelnaudary
Your last bike tour will take you through Carcassonne's new town, along the port of the Canal du Midi, and across Marengo bridge. Following the pine tree lined tow paths on the banks of the canal and passing the watergates of La douce, Heminis and Lalande, you will finally arrive in Castelnaudary. Be sure to visit the Pont Neuf and Vieux Pont (the town's “new” and “old” bridges), the man-made lake Le Grand Bassin and the watergate Saint Roch.
Distance: approx. 36km/23mi
Day 7: Castelnaudary – Narbonne – Departure
Your bike tour ends at Castelnaudary train station. A regional train will take you to Narbonne. Alternatively, a car transfer to Narbonne is available upon request.
*Price indication for an adult in double bedrooms depending on the availability in the accommodations *
Single rooms at a surcharge.
Special rates for families and groups of 4 or more.
This trip is offered year round depending on vacancies.
The duration of this self-guided bike tour may be adjusted according to your preferences.
Please fill out our enquiry form indicating the number of your party and your preferred travel dates.
6 nights with breakfast in double bedrooms in French B&Bs with private bathrooms, 3 x dinner, luggage transfer service, maps, information on route options, visitor's tax.
Train or airfares to/from destination, pick-up service (payable on site), remaining meals, beverages, train tickets, travel cancellation insurance.
Rental bikes incl. breakdown service, helmet, water bottle, etc. (delivered to your first accommodation): from €98 per bike and week
Minimum number of participants: 1
Not accessible to persons with reduced mobility.
The tour operator reserves the right to cancel this trip up until 21 days prior to departure.
6 nights in double bedrooms with private bathrooms in hand-picked Chambres d'hôtes **** (French B&Bs, sometimes with swimming pool)where you will be welcomed by French families happy to share their knowledge of the region, cycling routes and local cuisine.
Each morning, you will enjoy a typical French breakfast with fresh products and homemade jam. Some of the guest houses offer so-called “Tables d'hôte” allowing you to join your hosts for dinner (please reserve upon booking or prior to your departure). Alternatively, your hosts will be happy to recommend good restaurants in the area.
Suitable for beginners (including families) and cycling pros alike!
Short day legs on tow paths and few paved bike trails allow you to cycle at a slow pace, take in the beautiful landscapes and visit the many sights along the Canal du Midi. Feel free to shorten or extend the day legs according to your preferences. We're happy to help you create your personal itinerary!
While this tour is perfectly suitable for families with children, the use of bike trailers is not recommended as the paths along the canal banks are often too narrow. Please beware of uneven paths and roots! We thus advise against using E-bikes.The canal path is too rough for them and they break easily, there are no hills on the canal!
We recommend a low-carbon train ride to Narbonne.
Closest airports: Toulouse-Blagnac. Shuttle bus to Toulouse train station and train connection to Narbonne.
If you're travelling by plane, please consider offsetting your carbon emissions, for example through the atmosfair programme.
For detailed travel information, please request our info sheet by filling out the enquiry form below.