Canal de la Garonne and Canal du Midi used to be the shipping connection between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. From the elegant, historic wine city of Bordeaux you follow the canal to the “pink” town of Toulouse. Cycling in a very relaxed way along almost car free routes through the magnificent typical South France countryside.
Today you travel to Bordeaux by train, plane or car and settle in at your comfortable centrally-located hotel. Easy connections using public transport (tram or shuttle) are available. Be sure to get there early to leave time to explore Bordeaux, a very pleasant town on the banks of the River Garonne.
Your first route takes you quickly out of town, via a cycling path on the right bank of the Garonne. In Latresne you turn north, to follow a converted railway. At the Romanesque abbey in La Sauve you turn southward on quiet tarmac lanes to reach the town of Cadillac and your hotel (with swimming pool), situated below the impressive 18th-century "Chateau de Cadillac".
Challenge: 49km, 150m ascent
You start off again on winding inland lanes, to avoid the busy road between Cadillac and Saint Macair. You will have to do some ascents, but a rewarding landscape awaits: impressive estates, vineyards and tiny typically-French villages. After a visit to the Bastide de St Macair, you cross the Garonne to the beginning of "la véloroute des Deux Mers" - your cycling route "between two seas". Accommodation tonight at a charming chambre d'hôtes in Meilahn-sur-Garonne, or a bit further inland (8km) in Marcellus.
Challenge: 39 or 47km, 200/350m ascent
Today you follow the Canal de la Garonne, cycling on the flat from Meilhan-sur-Garonne all the way to Sèrignac. Enjoy the shade of ancient plane trees and take time to make small detours along the way. The church in Mas d'Agenais has an authentic painting by Rembrandt on display. Savour a cup of coffee on the beautiful village square in Damazan, with its fortress and historic arcades. Another stop could be Tonneis, worth the 10km detour for its lovely square on the banks of the Garonne and a wide choice of restaurants, cafés and shops.
Challenge: 66 or 72km, 50m ascent
Today, you begin with a gentle section along the canal among plane trees and orchards. After 10km the channel intersects with an aqueduct, creating a unique way to reach Agen with its pleasant city centre and renowned Museum of Arts. Your route then continues along the canal, tucked in between the railway and a busy road until you reach Valence d'Agen, another beautiful town with curious round washhouses. Your last section is peaceful once again, as you fully enjoy the scenery on your way to the historic town of Mossaic, a UNESCO world heritage site and important stop on the "Chemin de Saint Jacques" coming in from Geneva, with the 11th-century Abbey of St Pierre and its stunning cloister.
Challenge: 58km, 30m ascent
Via the beautiful Pont-Canal du Cacor you cross the river Tarn and reach Castelsarrasin with its small port and 13th cent Abbey of Belleperche. In the shade of old planes you now follow an uninterrupted, quiet track to the centre of Toulouse. The last km short of this ‘pink’ town are somewhat noisier. There’s a lot to see on the way: the water slope in Montech, the special Ponts-Jumeaux and the junction of 3 canals. After Grisoles with its brick houses you reach the historic Castelnau-d’Estrétefonds. From here you can, if you wish, cover the last 25 km of this ‘Canal de la Garonne’ route by train.
Challenge: 67km, 75m ascent
End of your trip after breakfast. We advise you to extend your stay in order to take the time to visit the beautiful city of Toulouse, "la Ville Rose".
All accommodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services.
We choose comfortable 2*/3* and 4* hotels or B&Bs where all rooms have private en-suite bathroom and every morning breakfast are included. If a hotel is fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
Tourist tax included
From Paris, you can take the TGV (high speed train) to Bordeaux. 2h15). For time tables and further information look at the website of the SNCF.
On the end of your trip you can take a train from Toulouse (direct trains back to Bordeaux, the journey takes 2 to 3 hours). For time tables and further information look at the website of the SNCF or TER-SNCF.
I have watched in person how the bicycle routes are prepared. Very thoroughly, designed to lead along the most beautiful paths, every stretch checked in the field. Hotels are selected for quality and atmosphere, each personally inspected beforehand. Professionals! CS