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Your cycling holiday in France

Canal du Midi | Guided Group

Total Distance 127 miles (203km) | Average distance per day 21 miles (34km)

Leisurely cycling on the beautiful tree-lined paths along the Canal du Midi, this trip leads us from ancient Roman cities to the Mediterranean coast. You’ll ride through the natural beauty of the Corbières region and absorb the rich history, from the 12th century cathedral in Narbonne to the fortress town of Carcassonne. The medieval city is one of France’s most popular attractions due to it’s beautiful architecture and cultural heritage. What’s more, it is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, both mountainous and Mediterranean, and this bike tour is an amazing way to discover this stunning region. 

What’s included

  • Meals (breakfast)
  • Transport (touring bike, train) (E-Bikes are available)
  • Tour Leader
  • Standard Mid-Range Accommodation
  • Airport transfers
Your cycling holiday in France

Canal du Midi | Guided Group

Day 1

Arrival at Carcassonne Airport.

You will be met by a local representative at Carcassonne airport and driven to historic Béziers where you will be met by your Tour Leader. Carcassonne is located in the heart of a huge wine growing area and has a colourful and fascinating history. The Gothic cathedral sits high above the canal on the site of the Romanesque building destroyed in the fighting between the Crusaders and the Cathars. The old centre is criss-crossed by narrow streets offering great views over the Orb Valley. In the distance the hills of the Cevennes rise up to form the start of the Massif Central. Carcassonne is also famous for its Poutous - a delicious treat made from honey, Bitterois - a cake made from almonds as well as some fine regional wines and chocolate.

Meals included: none

Day 2

From Carcassonne to Béziers | Distance 28 miles (45 km) | Elevation +166m / -164m.

The first task will be to get acquainted with your touring bike. Then you will cycle out along the Canal du Midi, crossing the River Orb by aqueduct. The canal connects the old trade routes between Languedoc and Aquitaine and was the brainchild of Pierre-Paul Riquet. The 99 locks and 130 bridges constitute an engineering marvel and its tree-lined tranquil beauty affords us an ideal opportunity to explore the delightful countryside of this part of south-west France. The building project began in 1667 and took some 14 years to complete, eventually carving a trail some 240km in length, from the River Garonne to Agde on the Mediterranean coast. Following a route over the nearby hills you will ride away from the canal through the undulating landscape and quiet country roads to Valras Plage. Here there will be time for a leisurely lunch and the chance to relax on the seaside beach or take a swim before heading inland again to join the canal path back to Béziers for our second night.

Meals included: breakfast

Day 3

From Carcassonne to Narbonne | Distance 22 miles (35 km) | Elevation +89m / -140m.

Today you will leave Béziers and ride south passing the famous nine locks at Fonseranes. The lock are a spectacular feat of engineering and comprise eight separate water basins that extend for 300m up a slope of some 20 metres. Next up is a visit to the ancient field structures at Montady, where you will enjoy stunning views across the Béziers plain and the Malpas tunnel. Your route turns away from the Canal du Midi passing through a rural landscape of traditional French village life, to the city of Narbonne, our final destination for today.

Meals included: breakfast

Day 4

From Béziers to Narbonne | Distance 19 miles (30 km) | Elevation +7m / -8m.

This is a free day with time to explore Narbonne and its surroundings. You can opt for a ride on the flat or hillier local terrain or you can cycle to Narbonne Plage (beach) or Gruissan via the Canal de la Robine, past the sea lagoons and along the coastline. Closer to home, you may wish to discover the city of Narbonne. Formerly the capital of Rome's first settlement in Gaul, Narbonne was once a thriving port and a major centre of commercial enterprise and communication during the middle ages. Today it’s restored medieval quarter and dominating cathedral choir makes it an interesting place to soak up something of the atmosphere of its halcyon days.

Meals included: breakfast

Day 5

Round Tour from Narbonne | Distance 19 miles (31 km) | Elevation +197m / -197m.

Today you visit ‘Les Halles’, Narbonne's 100-year-old market where we will have time to browse the stalls and purchase sumptuous fresh provisions for our picnic lunch. You will ride 12 km of tree lined path following Le Canal de La Robine north out of the city. We stop to view the engineering feat where this short canal joins the river Aude, and ultimately it's connection with the Canal du Midi, then we leave the waterside path and take to the French country lanes. Passing through the 10th century village of Moussan, we will stop for our picnic lunch by a 9th century chapel amid the vines and olive trees. Joining a new cycle route in Montredon-des-Corbières, we cross the low hills to return to Narbonne.

Meals included: breakfast

Day 6

From Narbonne to Carcassonne | Distance 34 miles (55 km) | Elevation +123m / -72m.

Enjoy a different mode of transport with a short train ride to the wine producing town of Lézignan Corbières. We’ll then pedal to the stunning fortress city of Carcassonne. Carcassonne was one of the most important and powerful cities in the south, before the all-consuming Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars saw the town fall. Our ride will take us along the towpath of the Canal du Midi, via a patchwork landscape of vineyards, farms and attractive villages. We pass the interesting Ecluse de L'Aiguille where the imaginative lock keeper has created some delightfully humorous sculptures from recycled wood and metal. The day finishes with a ride back into Carcassonne.

Meals included: breakfast

Day 7

Round Tour from Carcassonne | Distance 22 miles (35 km) | Elevation +350m /-349m.

The final day's riding allows the option to do as much or as little as you want. There are a number of optional rides out from Carcassonne, with a chance to cycle along the canal towards Bram and Villepinte and visit the red-roofed streets of these attractive towns, or perhaps take a more energetic option and head into the surrounding hills to visit the old Cathar castle of Chateaux de Lastours, nestling amongst the wild lands of the Orbiel Valley. Of course you may decide to explore the delights of Carcassonne itself, immersing yourself amongst its medieval remains and enjoying the unique delights of what is surely one of the most perfectly preserved towns of its kind anywhere in France. The city holds a wealth of delights, from the twin towers of the Porte Narbonnaise, to the spectacular Chateau Comtal in the heart of La Cite, whilst at the Basilique St-Nazaire you can find samples of some of the best medieval stained glass in the Midi.

Meals included: breakfast

Day 8

Carcassonne

We then say “au revoir“, before the trip ends in Carcassonne.

Meals included: breakfast

This tour is operated by our preferred local partner.

Your cycling holiday in France

Canal du Midi | Guided Group

Your cycling holiday in France

Canal du Midi | Guided Group

Note: The accommodation listed below is indicative, it is not guaranteed and is subject to availability. Alternative accommodation of an equal standard may be used.

Hotel Espace Cite, Carcassonne

2-star

Contemporary and stylish rooms in the modern l'Hôtel Espace Cite located just 200m from the medieval city centre.

Hotel Imperator, Beziers

3-star


Situated in the heart of the town the hotel has 42 well appointed air-conditioned rooms. On a fine day you can make the most of the hotel's patio area or sunbathe at one of the cafes close by.

Zenitude Hotel-Residences, Narbonne

3-star

The Zenitude hotel is situated in the city centre of Narbonne and has contemporary spacious rooms.

Your cycling holiday in France

Canal du Midi | Guided Group

Package Prices 2019 (Flights and Transfers Included)

2019 Departure Dates Nights

Adult Prices

 
27 April - 04 May 7 £1,215 Enquire now
25 May - 01 June 7 £1,299 Enquire now
08 June - 15 June 7 £1,245 Enquire now
20 July - 27 July 7 £1,369 Enquire now
10 August - 17 August 7 £1,385 Enquire now
31 August - 07 September 7 £1,199 Enquire now
14 September - 21 September  7 £1,199 Enquire now
28 September - 05 October 7 £1,170 Enquire now

Package prices are indicative, please contact one of our Activities Experts for more information.

Tour Only Prices 2019

2019 Departure Dates Nights

Adult Prices

 
27 April - 04 May 7 £965 Enquire now
25 May - 01 June 7 £965 Enquire now
08 June - 15 June 7 £965 Enquire now
20 July - 27 July 7 £965 Enquire now
10 August - 17 August 7 £965 Enquire now
31 August - 07 September 7 £965 Enquire now
14 September - 21 September  7 £965 Enquire now
28 September - 05 October 7 £965 Enquire now

Extras

Single room option: Additional £270 to £290 depending on departure date.

Solo travellers

On this tour we do not require you to pay a surcharge for travelling alone. We will arrange for you to share accommodation with another traveller of the same gender and if we cannot match you up we will provide a single room at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room. The cost of the single supplement is listed above.

Your cycling holiday in France

Canal du Midi | Guided Group

Total Distance
127 miles (203km)

Average distance per day
21 miles (34km)

Suitability

We cycle mainly on canal towpaths and country roads, on flat or gently undulating terrain. Maps are provided to cycle individually or in groups while your Tour Leader drives the support vehicle, except on circular routes when your leader will cycle with the group. We have graded the route as easy. Two of the cycling days are circular routes and therefore optional.

Bikes

Your included toruing bike is a 21 gear RTE 520 hybrid and will be the correct frame size for your height. These are unisex step-through frames, but women's step through frames are available, but are limited in number and size and may vary in bike type - please request at time of booking. A 15-litre pannier and water bottle holder are included as well as the facility to fit your own pedals or saddle if you wish to bring them. A support vehicle carries the luggage from point to point and is driven by your Leader. Maps are provided to cycle individually or as a group. We provide spare parts and take care of the day to day maintenance. All you need to bring is your own helmet. 

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