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Cycling the Canal-du-Midi

Explore between Toulouse, Carcassonne and Beziers...

...cycle through Corbieres and Minervois vineyards and along the canal

Region Description


Work started on the canal to link the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans in 1666 under Louis XIV and was completed in just 14 years by 12,000 men and women. This cycling break in the heart of the Corbieres and Minervois follows a short section of the incredible canal-du-midi between Carcassonne and Beziers.
The spillway at La Redorte and the double lock at Argens Minervois are some of the feats of engineering conceived by Vauban and Riquet to be seen during this tour.
Trebes If you start at medieval Lagrasse, one of the 'plus belles villages de France', you'd have time to explore the exceptional collection of 11th to 18th century buildings including the Benedictine Abbey founded in 800 AD and a 12th century bridge over the Orbieu river. Ride through Corbieres vineyards towards Marseillette and stop by the Canal. Wind and water mills dotted across the landscape tell of an age before the vines were planted in place of wheat. From Marseillette the canal reaches Puicheric with its 11th century chateau, 13th century church and streets bordered by ancient houses. You can leave the canal to see a very pretty 10th century church at Escales before returning to see the 'epanchoir' at La Redorte.
A magnificent view of the Montagnes Noir from Castelnau d'Aude, then on to the double lock at Argens before arriving at Homps. The history of the Canal is best appreciated by taking a boat trip from Homps in the afternoon.

This canal is accessible from April to the end of November and we can match your requirements. Ask and we will help make it happen!

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Example Canal du Midi Experience - Suitable for Family Cycling

Suitable for families and wine connoisseurs, this region incorporates historic sites, Grand Cru Chateaux, varied landscape and easy day to day distances. Bikes, equipment, route plans and notes are supplied at the start of your trip. You choose your own pace; unlike organised tours, you pick where you want to stop, rest, eat & drink. We supply the bikes and make sure everything runs smoothy.

Day 1 - Lagrasse (0km)

Click for another picture Lagrasse, Aude

Lagrasse is rated one of the prettiest villages in France. This is a great place to stay with many small hotels, so you have time to explore the Benedictine Abbey (800 A.D.) and wander through medieval streets.

Day 2 - Fontcouverte (14km)

Click to enlarge Fontcouverte, Aude

An easy first day, descending through Ribaute (perhaps stopping for a swim in the Orbieu river). On the way, visit the Museum Charles Clos (inventer of the phonograph), and sample Corbieres wine at Chateau in Fabrezan. We recommend staying overnight in the Chateau at Fontcouverte.


Day 3 - Homps (26km)

Click to enlarge Canal du Midi, Homps

On day 3 you leave the Corbières and follow the Canal du Midi to Homps sleeping at one of several places to stay. Perhaps on the way you perused the morning market at Lezignan-Corbieres, or visited the Chateau Grand Moulin at Luc-sur-Orbieu for degustation or for entomologists there's the Musée de la Faune at Gasparet!


Day 4 - Homps (2km)

Chai at Homps

How about a rest day in the Minervois region? At Homps you can take a barge tour on the Canal and learn about its history, or hire a boat, or cycle to the sandy beach at Lac de Jouarries to relax by the café, swim or learn to windsurf. The restored Chai at Homps has 120 wines from 80 different domaines and is well worth a visit.


Day 5 - Minerve & Laredorte (12-33km)

Click to see limestone formations

Leave the Canal and cycle up into the Garrigues to Minerve and wonder at the incredible natural limestone bridge formations. The view over the planes of your trip so far is breathtaking. The Curiosite of Lauriole is worth the detour, as too are the Dolmens of Fees. Nearby, in the shade of pine trees, is the medieval Chapel of Saint Germain de Cesseras. A great place for a picnic! More sumptuous dining is available at the restaurant built into the city walls at Siran.


Day 6 - Marseillette (14km)

Click to enlarge

See the vast XVIII chateau and the epanchoir over the river l'Argent Double at Laredorte and follow the Canal du Midi to Marseillette. On the way, see the XIII church at Puicheric through streets bordered with ancient houses, and from the ruins of a romain church at Castelnau d'Aude there's a magnificent panorama of the Montagnes Noires.


Day 7 - Fontcouverte (21km)

Click to enlarge

Meander through vineyards and peaceful villages back towards Fontcouverte.

Day 8 - Lagrasse (15km)

Meet at Lagrasse for bike collection, after lunch.

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