Cycling along the Canal du Midi

Last week, during a family holiday, I enjoyed a few days cycling along the Canal du Midi, or, more accurately, cycling along a stretch of the Canal du Midi near Carcassonne in the south of France. The canal's full length is 240km from Tolouse to Agde (or Sète – it depends which guidebook you believe).

Marseillette lock Trebes lock Carcassonne lock

The lock keeper's cottage at each lock along the Canal du Midi bears a plate showing the distance between it and the locks on either side.

Pierre Paul Riquet built the canal at the end of the 17th century. It ceased to provide a viable commercial form of transport some time ago, but today affords pleasure to those travelling by boat, bike, horse and on foot. The Canal du Midi was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997.


Easter, and the canal is much less busy than during the high season.


Travellers along the canal are quick to offer a ‘bonjour’ to one and other.


The old towpath varies in quality from a road that can be driven by car to a trail of a few inches wide.


One of the more sheltered sections of the canal.


A short, steep rise to this lock and a climb out of the saddle.


The upper lock at Trebes.


Away from the canal the ‘D’ roads are well signposted. Unfortunately, I came to this junction after completely bypassing my destination. I could have bought a smaller-scale map; few of the minor roads are signposted.


More vineyards and a lovely quiet road northeast of Capendu en route to Blomac.

You can’t walk more than a few yards without seeing yet another vineyard in the Aude département (Fitou, Minervois, Corbieres et al) where the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) standard mark is jealously guarded for the wine produced there.


No trip to Carcassonne would be complete without a visit to the medieval city.


We rented two of these bikes for three days at 15 Euros a day each. I reckon £90 would probably buy you one of these machines.

Although you could get away with just six gears on the canal towpath there are too many other places worth visiting that require lower gears, especially if you are carrying more than a spare tube, spanner and a couple of tyre levers. I was thinking of cycling the full distance, maybe next year, but getting there and other logistics are a bit off-putting. Besides, Mrs Bailey is already looking into a holiday including Amsterdam and Rotterdam this summer. Meanwhile, the in-laws are hoping to return to the Canal du Midi and rent a boat. Very nice, too.

63 comments on “Cycling along the Canal du Midi”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Enjoyed your photos.

    240 kilometres would be a pleasant 30-40 miles per day over 4-5 days. Mrs Taylor would approve, cycling along the flat and exploring the country. If it was me I'd be looking to cycle from the Atlantic to the Med by including the Canal de Garonne and taking two weeks, although I'm not sure you can cycle along the Garonne. Here's a map:

    Canal de Garonne and Canal du Midi

    As you say, it's a long way to get there. Did you fly to Toulouse? Either way, you'd need to get back to the start somehow. A circular trip probably makes more sense logistically. An Autumn cycle tour of the Loire would be nice too.

    There's a Cicerone Guide on cycling the Canal du Midi – they're usually pretty good.

  2. carol wrote:

    see Darryl May account of walking along here, which he has just completed. I have just finished reading it and was surching the web and came across your planned trip. I dont know Darryl or yourself but good luck anyway.

  3. Chris wrote:

    I did no research before arriving at Carcassonne airport via Ryanair a week last Sunday (too tied up with cycling in the Dales and then recovering). I picked up some information from Tourist Information in Trebes and I've since had a look on the Internet – including the 'look inside' you can have on Amazon. So I read the first few pages of the Cicerone Guide, thanks, Patrick.

    You've opened up some more ideas, maybe for next year... 🙂

  4. Kern wrote:

    There is a lovely article on Carcassone originally published in 1926 that has nothing to do with cycling but is evocative of a bygone era.

  5. Patrick wrote:

    Kern, that's a nice link. If you're a cyclist, you'd be welcome to join our blogging team if you so wish. If you're interested, let us know via our contact page.

  6. Mary wrote:

    Sounds like you had a grand trip by all accounts. I have made the decision not to bother riding along the UK canal paths ever again, preferring the cars on the A6, to being attacked by a dog last weekend – very big and scary moment it was too. I also have discovered that a road bike is NOT made for tracks and trails, it was a very uncomfortable and bumpy ride, whereas my tourer makes light of such routes, even fully loaded up.

    I rather liked the style of the bikes you had hired. Being a sort of hybrid lover myself. 🙂

  7. Chris wrote:

    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with a dog, Mary. I hope you weren't physically harmed.

    I think a minimum of 32mm tyres would be needed on canal towpaths such as the one that runs alongside the Canal du Midi. But I really wouldn't fancy doing the full 240km on one of those MBK bikes.

  8. Kern wrote:

    Dogs: within the first hour of arriving in Romania we were told "Always keep your legs moving, even if you are pedaling backwards." In the mountains this was never an issue – those dogs are bred to fight wolves, and there's never a question of stopping.

  9. Simon Johnson wrote:

    We are planning to cycle along the Canal Du Midi in May for 5 days from Beziers west towards Toulouse. Do you know of any place in Benziers which is safe where we can leave our luggage? Also any suggestions of reliable bike hire companies?

    Appreciate your comments and suggestions

    Kind regards
    Simon Johnson

  10. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Simon. I don't know anything about Beziers, but I'll check on the information from the cycle hire company we didn't use when I get back later today. We didn't use them only because we found out about them on the day we returned our own hire bikes.

    GTG – off on bike ride!

  11. Chris wrote:

    Sorry, Simon. I must have brought back every other map, leaflet and booklet – including some duplicates – from our time in France. I've been on the Internet and can't even find the place that hired bikes from near one of the Tourist Information Offices in Carcassonne.

    I remember finding the leaflet by chance only after we'd already booked those cheap and cheerful bikes. Best of luck to you, and sorry I couldn't have given you any more help.

  12. Anne wrote:

    We are a group cycling from Carcassonne to Sete later this summer. I have got the route planned and B&Bs booked along the way. But I am slightly concerned about the final section from Agde to Sete. Has anyone cycled this bit? It sounds like we might have to do about 9km on a busy road which we'd rather avoid if possible.


  13. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Anne. I've been trying to find a booklet (I had two copies) of an official-looking Canal du Midi guide. Still looking, but I sort of remember two chaps from a cycle hire place in Carcassonne saying that it isn't possible to get to Sète by bike. I'm not sure, though. Will keep looking, but do try elsewhere – perhaps you could get back to this post and tell us what you find out. Good luck.

  14. Peter wrote:

    I should be going to the Canal du Midi in few weeks time and I'm unsure whether I have the right bike.

    Currently I have a racing bike with an aluminium/carbon fiber frame, a fixed wheel bike with a steel frame, and a mountain bike also with a steel frame. The racing and the fixed wheel bike both have 700x23C wheels, and my mountain bike has 26"x1.95" wheels.

    So which bike would you recommend? (I really dislike the mountain bike btw)

    Thank you in advance,


  15. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Peter. Personally, with those three options I would go with the mountain bike, but if you don't fancy it then I would suggest the fixed wheel bike, with tyres changed to 700x28C, assuming you have the clearance. Go for 32C if you can get away with it. Do you have dropped handlebars or flat on your fixed wheel bike? I would prefer the comfort and steadiness of a bike with flat handlbars, it's not as if you would be racing along, so another plus for the mountain bike?

    The canal paths do rise as you approach bridges and locks, of course, but I can't imagine there is much to trouble most cyclists in terms of slight and occasional inclines. The only trouble I can think of is if you decide to wander away from the canal; it can get hilly in various parts of southern France, and not too far from the Canal du Midi 🙂

  16. Kelly wrote:

    Hi folks,

    I live in Agde and I can assure everyone that the Canal du Midi does not go to Sete. It terminates at Marseillan Plage. Really from Vias on to Marseillan Plage the trails get worse and worse. About 2/3rd of the way from Agde to Marseillan Plage you will probably have to walk your bike or risk falling in the Canal.

    The French have been working a lot on the highway from Marseillan Plage to Sete. I have not biked it but many people do and I have never read of an accident.

    Three other points:

    There is a very large puce (flea market) in Marseillan Plage on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It is rather fun if you are into that sort of thing. In the Summer here is usually a man there selling used bikes and parts should you have a need.

    The local trains (labeled TER) frequently have space for bikes except at rush hour.

    The Beziers (pronounced bay-z-A) has a nice small airport that serves parts of England pretty well in the Summer.

    Hope that this helps your planning. Happy biking!

  17. Michael wrote:

    I agree with Chris. I did the stretch from Paraza to the end about two weeks ago and I rented a Giant with 700c with about 32s which worked well. There are an awful lot of roots which made its front shock welcome. For those renting bikes think about bringing your own saddle as well as cycle shorts. The rental had a comfortable seat but after 4 days I was getting sore. Never have a problem with my two at home, even without a chamois.
    Also, the Cicerone guide is great. The rental company loaned me one, as it was a spur of the moment thing for me and I had not time to find my own. Mellow Velo is a good company to deal with.

  18. Chris wrote:

    Thanks for clearing up that confusion, Kelly. Thanks, too, for the extra information. I hope that people are able to make use of it. In fact I hope I will be able to some day 🙂

    Now you mention it, Michael, I do remember getting, well, hot around the saddle region when I did my little rides along the Canal. The cheap bikes had "comfortable" gel saddles that were not much fun for someone like me used to a proper Brooks leather saddle. Now that Europcar are sponsoring the Tour I wonder if it would be possible to hire bikes – as a sideline – at some point along the Canal du Midi and drop them off at the end in the manner of hiring a car from a major rental company? That would solve the problem of taking your own bike on an aeroplane. Or perhaps you can already do this?

  19. Alison Ireland wrote:

    My husband and I cycled the Canal du Midi in MAY 2010.We flew to Carcasonne to a B.and B for one night,then took the train to Narbonne where the lady from Mellow Velos in Parazza picked us up.We cycled South to Agde,then took the bikes on the train to Toulouse and cycled back to Parazza.It was a great experience. The bikes were superb and the folks at Mellow Velos most helpful as our first day coincided with most unseasonal weather GALES AND SNOW.They arranged B.and B for us and we set off a day late.We did not book accomadation and had no problems,but guess booking would be advisable in summer.Our trip lasted 10 days so there were no long runs.I think 64 k w was our longest.We are both now in our 70s.and look forward to doing it again.

  20. Sandy wrote:

    I need help please. We are planning on riding the Canal du Midi. Arriving in Toulouse on Aug. 30th, rent bikes, train to Sete, and ride back to Toulouse. We need to rent bikes with panniers in Toulouse. MeloVelo does not do Toulouse. Does anyone know of a rental shop and their contact information. We want to rent in Toulouse and then drop them off back there. Please advise.

  21. Kelly wrote:

    I do not know of a place to rent bikes in Toulouse for trips outside of the city. In French a bike is a "velo" and rental is "location." Here is a link to a google search of those terms:

    Even if you cannot read the French, you can cut and paste it into "google translate" and get a rough idea of what is being said.

    At first La Maison du Vélo de Toulouse looked promising. Membership is only 10 euros, but it seems that they only rent in the city and surrounding towns, the agglomeration or agglo of Toulouse.

    Another option might be to buy an inexpensive bike in Toulouse and then just give it away when you are finished. At Intermarché or Hyper-U you should be able to find a serviceable bike for 140 to 180 euros. I have seen sales as low as 125 euros. You might also find a shop that sells used bikes in Toulouse. The French word for "used" is "occasion."

    Anyway, hope that you have a nice time in France.

  22. Chris wrote:

    Sandy, Kelly's idea makes perfect sense. When I was in Carcassonne and struggling to find a hire place that was open I thought of buying second hand bikes to sell again at the end of the week. As I mentioned in my original post, I reckon I could have bought one of those bikes for £90. Maybe that estimate was a bit low, but it's an alternative, I suppose.

    Anyway, if I've read this right, aren't you riding only from Sete? If you don't mind my asking are you going to Sete for some other reason – Kelly says you cannot ride from there. Plane to Toulouse, train to Sete (?), buy bikes in Sete, train to somewhere along the canal, ride to Toulouse, sell or discard (!) there. Just a thought – I think you need a secondhand bike shop in Sete, or somewhere along the canal where you can safely ride from to Toulouse. (Is there an equivalent of Tesco in France? You can pick up a BSO for 80 quid, although you have to put those together yourself.) [Oh, just read Kelly's comment again, looks like Intermarché or Hyper-U are Tesco-ish.]

    If you are only cycling along the Canal du Midi you don't need state of the art gear. Just something with a pannier rack, I reckon. Best of luck 🙂

  23. Paul wrote:

    We are planning on riding the Canal du Midi next year. Am I correct in thinking that Toulose to Sete is down hill? Going with the flow?

  24. Chris wrote:

    An interesting question, Paul. I hadn't really thought about it, but I recall at Trebes that the triple lock there is higher at the Toulouse end. Couldn't find anything on relative heights, but a quick mockup route on gives a height at Toulouse of approximately 500 feet above sea level going down to about 10 feet in Agde. I say Agde rather than Sete, because of Kelly's comments (above)...

    I live in Agde and I can assure everyone that the Canal du Midi does not go to Sete. It terminates at Marseillan Plage. Really from Vias on to Marseillan Plage the trails get worse and worse. About 2/3rd of the way from Agde to Marseillan Plage you will probably have to walk your bike or risk falling in the Canal...

  25. Paul wrote:

    Thanks for that Chris. I had not heard of I will take a look.
    As novices rider we regulary do a canal section fron Stratford upon avon to Lowsenford, 25 miles round trip. it takes about about 2 hours there but only 1 1/2 hours back on the down hill.
    The down hill on Canal du Midi would make a big difference to us.
    I notice that the majority of posters go the other way. Any particular reason?

  26. Kelly wrote:

    My next door neighbors, who are avid bicyclists, assure me that the bike path from Sete to Marseillan Plage is now complete. I have not ridden it so I cannot say for sure, but they ride a lot and I suspect that the information is correct.

    Certainly the ride from Toulouse to Agde would be easier than the other way around.

    I thought that it was just me, but my neighbors also do not like the ride from Agde to Vias along the Canal du Midi. The problem is that very large Plane trees grow along the bank and the huge roots run across a good portion of the trail near Agde. The trail is very pretty and shady, however, but do not expect to go very fast.

    After you leave Vias along the Canal, after a bit, you will go under a local paved road that goes directly to Agde. My friends ride down that paved road and then go down the bank of the Canal and join the Canal to go on to Vias and Beziers. A lot of bikers and hikers do that and you will see the worn paths that go up to the road.

    Hope that this is helpful.

  27. Chris wrote:

    Many thanks for all your info, Kelly.

  28. Sheri wrote:

    We are flying to Paris and want to rent or buy used bikes and bike in France. I'd appreciate reviews on the best and most interesting bike trips in France.

  29. Chris wrote:

    Sounds great, Sheri. If you find any such reviews feel free to add links to them from this page 🙂

  30. Caro wrote:

    Found this helpful and informative site when looking for somewhere to stay in order to cycle along the canal du midi. We plan to drive down so need somewhere where we can park our car safely off-road too – and trying to decide whether to bring bikes with us (bought in France a few years ago from Geant supermarket in the Var!) or buy little folding ones for such events. From what I read on here perhaps that is not a good idea! However, we wouldn't be cycling for miles each day, no more than 10 there and back – we are in our 60's so aiming to go in May when it should not be too hot (or too cold hopefully – just read about the snow above!). Any comments appreciated!

  31. Caro wrote:

    And thanks Kelly for clarifying the term "occasion" which I always thought meant "sale" til now!

  32. Caro wrote:

    If anyone knows of any small (not too commercialised) caravan sites within cycling distance of the canal that would be great too. We are considering bringing our caravan with us and staying in France for a month or two this year – we would like to rent a gite with parking near the canal if no caravan sites so we can ditch the car and walk or cycle into town etc. In that event we would need to store our caravan somewhere for that week.

  33. Nicola wrote:

    Hi myself and my husband are planning to cycle the Atlantic coast (again) and instead of going on to Spain this time I would like to cycle along / near the canal from Bouredeux to the Med we will be camping. Any help on camp sites that are open from 1st April ish would be great, prefably cheap ones as we are planning to cycle around Europe for aprox 6 months 🙂

  34. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Caro and Nicola.

    This isn't actually a forum for people trying to find information about camping etc. along the Canal du Midi, so you may want to search elsewhere for somewhere on the Internet that is more appropriate – perhaps you've already done so. Having said that, I am always happy to read about other people's plans to ride at least part of this route. Best of luck with your journeys & accommodation and if anyone would like to post a link to their own experiences along the canal that would be great 🙂

  35. brian j wrote:

    we are taking bikes from Calais to Toulouse on the train dont see any one commenting on that, why does every one seem to favor flying or hireling 4 trains a day take bikes £5 charge

  36. Peter wrote:

    We are Australians who live in France in the summers and are also planning to cycle from Atlantic to the Med this year. The Canal du Garonne actually starts near Langon about 40 kms inland from Bordeax and we will be using our own bikes purchased locally last year for just under 200 euros each. We will probably do the trip in September hoping to achieve 60-80 kms per day and we are not pre booking any accommodation but will use any b/b's we find on the way.

    We have found the comments on this site very informative and would welcome any further tips to assist us on our way.

  37. dianne deane wrote:

    Dear Sherri, sorry if this is too late but last June and July we cycled from Paris down to Orleans ( the hardest part! take good detailed maps) then along the Loire to St Nazaire, then did a loop north into Brittany up to Dinan, Dinard, St Malo, Mont St Michele then south through Fourgere, Vitre and Rennes. We camped everywhere and it was wonderful, averaged 50km a day all though we didn't ride each day, totalled 2000kms. Happy to provide further detals to anyone (I have a day by day diary). We got lost everyday but always found something wonderful and next trip (to Montpellier through Carcossone to Bordeaux (in June &July again), we will have a Garmond cyling GPS). We are in our early 60's and didn't find it too hard at all. Best tip is to find the tourist office in each town first off, get local maps to show tourist sites, camp grounds, supermarkets internet etc, and ask how to get out of the town again and back onto velo paths, although we also used quiet local roads a lot. Dianne

  38. Sarah wrote:


    For our honeymoon my fiancé and I are going to hire a boat to sail the Canal du Midi, we are planning on bringing a bike on board with us so we can cycle at each town we stop at.

    I wonder if there's any point in hiring a bike or like someone said on this forum, to simply buy a bike?

    Would love to know your thoughts?

  39. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Sarah. Have you checked to see if the boat companies include bikes as part of their hire deal? From memory I believe that many boats had at least one bike lashed to the deck. Might be worth checking if you haven't done so already.

    Kelly and I suggested it might be worth buying a cheap bike rather than hiring a cheap bike at one end of the canal and selling it at the other end when no boat was involved in the travel arrangements. But if the boat hire company bundles in a bike or two that might be a better deal, and less of a faff.

    Enjoy your honeymoon 🙂

  40. Catherine wrote:

    I have booked two weeks in the South of France in August and am very excited to start making plans. It seems that we can bike quite a bit in one week, about the same as we could boat! If you bike, how do you carry all your things? I wonder which is best — renting a boat, biking, or walking — the Canal du Midi? Is camping allowed along the Canal?

  41. Kern wrote:

    Catherine wrote:

    If you bike, how do you carry all your things?

    You don't. You only carry what you need 🙂 .

    When we committed to our first trip we had no idea what we were doing. Here's a link we found to be of great help when planning.

    Best of luck!

  42. Sarah wrote:

    Hi Chris, thanks for the suggestion, i emailed the boating company and they have agreed to give us one bike free of charge since we'll be on our honeymoon, so we only have to pay for one! Sweet! thanks for the suggestion! All the best!

  43. Pierre wrote:

    Just to mention that a Toulouse cycling association edit small guides ( about trips along the Canal du Midi. I'm not linked with this association, but i found them very useful to plan the trip : as towpath surface quality is very variable (from smooth asphalt to medium gravels), it seems wise to adapt daily mileage 🙂

    We (couple + one baby) got there last summer and we now dream about a Scottish trip, ahh...

  44. Megan wrote:

    I have just completed a ride between Bordeaux and Gruissan using the voie vert from Bordeaux to Langon then the Canal du Garonne and lastly the Canal du Midi. We took 6 days to complete this trip staying in B&Bs which I had pre-booked. I rode a hybrid Giant and my friends had mountain bikes. The pathways from Bordeaux to Toulouse were virtually all tarmacked and a couple of meters wide and well signposted. There aren't many cafes/shops/restaurants right on the canals so you do often need to go into a village to find supplies. We got lost going through Toulouse and about 40-50km after Toulouse the track turned to a mountain bike trail, some of which was very narrow, bumpy and would be very muddy if it had rained recently. It was so bad in places that a very heavy panier bag jumped off the bike rack. In peak times these paths would be awful to negotiate with people coming the other way. In the end we bought a map in Trebes and took to the small roads. These were great and going through pretty villages was much nicer. However, we had to get back on the canal before Narbonne and would have got helplessly lost if 2 local cyclists hadn't shown us the route. There were no signposts and it lead us round the edge of fields and vineyards with no indication that this was the path we should follow. If you want to cycle along a canal then my advice is forget the canal du Midi and go on the canal du Garonne, its very pretty around Agen and Moissac and we found some nice places to stay.

  45. Timo wrote:

    Paul wrote:

    We are planning on riding the Canal du Midi next year. Am I correct in thinking that Toulose to Sete is down hill? Going with the flow?

    The Canal Du Midi highest point is Seuil de Naurouze, 53 Km from Toulouse. This point is on the "continental" divide, i.e. any rain falling on the east will eventually flow into the Med, and any rain falling on the west will eventually flow into the Atlantic. But it is also important to note that the canal path is basically level, as it is along the canal.

    Here a distance chart I made this week:

  46. Gerry wrote:

    My wife and I plan to cycle the canal du midi later this year. Can anyone advise us on information regarding good quality B&B accommodation along the route. Thanking you in advance. Gerry

  47. Martin wrote:

    Has any body experience with riding the Canal du Midi in France ?

    I'm planning to ride the Canal du Midi from Lunel to Carassonne in May – June on my own.

    I would like to know about places to stay. Camp sites cheap B&B's etc. I have planned seven days for the Canal du Midi.


  48. Patrick wrote:

    Some information about accommodation near Canal du Midi is available on French Connections. For camping, try this thread on the CTC Forums.

  49. jim wrote:

    I rode a part on the Midi last September near Beziers and to the airport. I was on my Raleigh Royal but lightly loaded. The bike coped ok on 28mm tyres but I found the tree roots annoying and you could not relax as its quite busy with cyclists, joggers, walkers etc. It is very slow going. Fine if you wish to dawdle and its picturesque. There is often a good tarmac road running alongside the canal and I often diverted onto this. For me it was much more pleasant.

  50. eduardo wrote:

    I´m Eduardo, from São Paulo, Brazil, planing my bike trip from Boudeaux to Sete, late september.
    I´m looking for maps, distances, where to stay along Canal du Garonne and Canal du Midi, but didn´t find much information in english.
    Could you help me with any guide book/website tips?
    Thanks a lot in advance,

  51. Kate Wilson wrote:

    @Eduardo: Sorry this is a bit late – I only just saw this particular page – but if you go to you can calculate distances. There is also a good map showing cycle paths from just outside Bordeaux down to the Med, and some information (not particularly good information to be honest) about accommodation etc.

    You might be best advised to work out (using the above site) roughly where you want to stay each night, then use to look for accommodation. Alternatively, there is quite good information on the Cycling Languedoc website –

    I hope this helps.

  52. Penelope wrote:

    A friend and I are planning to do a bike trip from Carcassone to Montpellier but so far we haven't found any website offering rentals for 15 euros per day as you said you found. Could you tell me where did you find this rental place? Thanks!

  53. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Penelope.

    I picked up a flyer – I don't remember the name of the bike shop – in the Tourist Information in Trebes (not Carcassone) and I couldn't find the place when I searched for it on the Internet when I got home. Sorry I can't help 🙁

  54. Clare wrote:

    We are currently cycling from narbonne to borders via the canal du midi and canal lateral (gironde). Due to the prevailing winds I would definitely recommend cycling it the other way! We caught the European bike bus to narbonne and are picking it back up in 2 weeks time from Bordeaux. The path from narbonne to toulouse has been of varying quality from beautiful tarmac (into toulouse) to 6 inch mud track, which makes for a varied riding experience. We are doing it fully loaded and taking all our camping gear on our own bikes. End of may is early in the season so it isn't busy, the weather is good but some campsites aren't open yet.

  55. Jean Davis wrote:

    Any ideas on where I can leave my backpack in Toulouse while I do a 10 day cycle along Canal du Garonne/Midi?

  56. Mary kerr wrote:

    we did the journey from Bordeaux using the European bike express to transport us and bikes from UK to France.they have lots of pick up and drop of points including Toulouse and places on the med. very comfortable and efficient.we got picks up in Montpellier at the end of our journey. We found cheap hotels along the route with a bit of planning and research.
    Loved it and planning to do it again in 2016

  57. Bruce Houlder wrote:

    Mary- we are a group of three in our 70s planning a cycle along as much of the Canal du Midi as we can from around Bordeaux to the Med probably in April 17. Do you have any recommendations for a good published route guide? Also have the paths improved or is it really a mountain bike ride? We have found huge path variations in France.,Thanks in advance. Dis the Veloddyseye this year where the paths are fabulous all the way. Not so sure about the Canal though. Best wishes Bruce

  58. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Bruce.

    It's a while since I wrote this post. However, if Mary doesn't respond to your question I think Patrick's comments are probably still valid:

    There's a Cicerone Guide on cycling the Canal du Midi – they're usually pretty good.

    I would say that a hybrid would be fine for the Canal du Midi. Perhaps a mountain bike would be overkill, but as it's over six years since I was last there I'm not sure if the conditions have worsened since that time. Best wishes – Chris.

  59. Richard Vaughton wrote:

    [edit: you may prefer to read an English translation below – Chris]

    Au dessous il y a 2 emails. Ils s'expliquent.
    La route entre Castelnaudary et Homps est affreuse.

    J'habite depuis plus de treize ans dans l'Aude. Un bon ami anglais est en route en vélo de Roscoff à Sete.

    Il a 73 ans, son épouse est tristement morte en septembre 2016.

    Hier, je l'ai surpris en quittant Castelnaudary, et nous nous sommes rendus à Carcassonne. Il allait continuer à Homps.  Hier soir, il m'a dit que la section à Homps était encore pire. 
    C'était un tour terrible. Nous connaissons nous deux que l'investissement qui s'est passé dans les Voies Vertes (Ariege).

    Le chemin au bord du canal était en fait, très dangereux en partie, comme le gravier près d'un restaurant non loin de Carcassonne.

    Les vacanciers des bateaux avaient l'air terrifiés, alors qu'ils passaient, alors qu'ils essayaient de faire du vélo sur les vélos fournis par les compagnies de bateaux.
    Il était impossible d'avoir une conversation. Il était impossible de regarder les belles vues. Nous avons passé la majeure partie de notre voyage à regarder le chemin.

    C'était épouvantable. Une attraction touristique dite majeure qui se trouve dans un si mauvais état de réparation.

    Les responsables officiels de la santé et de la sécurité devraient savoir à ce sujet.


    M. Vaughton, Richard
    Gérard Larrat, Maire de Carcassonne, a bien reçu votre message d'aujourd'hui.
    Monsieur le Maire me demande de vous préciser qu'il partage totalement votre point de vue, et qu'il déplore comme vous l'état de délabrement des allées longeant le Canal, pourtant classé au patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO ; et vous n'êtes malheureusement pas le seul à nous écrire cela, Monsieur le Maire recevant régulièrement des courriers identiques au votre.
    Cependant, le Canal du Midi est géré par Voies Navigables de France (VNF) et non pas par la Ville de Cracassonne qui, même si elle souhaitait intervenir (nettoiement, débroussaillage etc.), n'en a pas le droit. Spécificité des compétences…
    Pouvez-vous alors adresser votre message au Président de VNF afin qu'il soit informé de votre mécontentement justifié ?

  60. Chris wrote:

    Thank you for taking the time to post the comment above. For those, like me, who struggle with French, I have had to use Google Translator:

    Below there are 2 emails. They explain.

    The road between Castelnaudary and Homps is awful.

    I live for more than thirteen years in the Aude. A good English friend is en route from Roscoff to Sete.

    He is 73 years old, his wife is sadly died in September 2016.

    Yesterday I surprised him on leaving Castelnaudary, and we went to Carcassonne. He was going to continue at Homps. Last night he told me that the section at Homps was even worse.

    It was a terrible turn. We know both of us the investment that happened in the Greenways (Ariege).

    The path along the canal was in fact very dangerous in part, like the gravel near a restaurant not far from Carcassonne.

    Boat tourists looked terrified as they were passing by while trying to ride a bike on the bicycles provided by the boats companies.

    It was impossible to have a conversation. It was impossible to look at the beautiful views. We spent most of our trip watching the way.

    It was dreadful. A so-called major tourist attraction that is in such a bad state of repair.

    Official health and safety officials should know about this.


    Mr. Vaughton, Richard


    Gérard Larrat, Mayor of Carcassonne, received your message today.

    The Mayor asks me to tell you that he fully shares your point of view, and that he deplores, as you do, the dilapidated state of the alleys along the Canal, which is still classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site; And you are unfortunately not the only one to write us this, since the Mayor regularly receives couriers identical to yours.

    However, the Canal du Midi is managed by Voies Navigables de France (VNF) and not by the City of Cracassonne which, even if it wishes to intervene (cleansing, brushing etc.), is not allowed. Specific skills ...

    Can you then send your message to the President of VNF so that he will be informed of your justified discontent?


    I am sorry, but perhaps not surprised, to read that conditions have worsened along the Canal du Midi. I have fond memories of our stay in the area.

  61. Mark wrote:

    The Canal Du Midi is not paved, like some other bike paths. One has to know that before you start the trip. I can tell you that the people that complain the most are the ones that cycle from Bordeaux to Sete, along the Canal de Garonne and ensuite de Canal Du Midi. They are ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS comparing the bike paths along the two completely different canals, as shown once again by the comment directly above. If you cycle from far away, UK or something, you are best of on a bike that can run fast on pavement. Don't go bumping around on the Canal Du Midi with your heavy bags, bike without suspension, and skinny tires, and after go compain. It is your own fault for not preparing properly!!!!! It is that simple people! There are bikes for going fast, bikes for going downhill, bikes for stunts, bikes for riding on ice, .... the point is.... use the proper equipment! Don't go doing stunts on a carbon race bike, don't go run the tour de france with a BMX bike, dont ride a tandem alone.

  62. Jim wrote:

    Parts of the Canal Du Midi are paved. You can negotiate it with a good touring bicycle. You do not need a suspension bike. Even if you use a fully suspension bike you are still in a situation where you have to constantly watch the path in front of you. You cannot relax on these rough stretches. It is not a well maintained towpath.

  63. John Eric Moran wrote:

    Hi there, I have part planned a ride from Toulouse to Agde in April of 2020 and want to carry as little as possible on my bike in way of Toiletries and spare clothing. Is there a company operating along the Canal du Midi that will collect and deliver a back pack from one B & B to the next? I would really appreciate someones help with this, Kind Regards Eric.

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