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Coast to Coast - From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean

14 days / 13 nights
Canal du Midi - Canal de Garonne - The Atlantic Coast - Seas and rivers - Leisure cycling - Culture & gastronomy
Without guide - Comfort - Luggage transfer

price from
~1225 £ [1345 €]

Beginning in Lacanau, a little town on the Atlantic coast of France, this is a unique cycling holiday that will take you all the way to the Mediterranean. Two weeks of cycling, comfortable places to stay and daily luggage transfers are all included. Designed by us, this trip is exclusive to Europe-Active!

Accommodation is subject to availability and may change from that described here. The daily cycle stages are subject to local changes and may vary from that described here and in the fact sheet.

Your day by day program

1
Lacanau

Arrive in Lacanau. Get installed into your hotel only metres from the sea and the superb sandy beaches. Watch the surfers as they tackle the Atlantic waves. Night in a hotel.

2
From Médoc to Bordelais

Leave Lacanau, the mecca for surfers, and join the cycle path to Bordeaux. You will pass by a protected forest that surrounds Lacanau as well as the ‘lac de Bordeaux’. This is a nice route that will take you directly into the city of Bordeaux.
Distance of roughly 65km.
Night in a three star hotel.

3
Sauveterre de Guyenne

This is a very nice day’s riding. The route out of Bordeaux is surprisingly easy and pleasant with a clearly defined cycle path that very quickly has you heading out of the city along the river into countryside. You will follow a cycle path, which had once been an old railway line, passing many restored station houses (often refurbished as cafes or restaurants). The route will take you into the heart of this very special wine region.
Distance of roughly 41km.
Dinner and night in a chambre d'hotes with swimming pool, close to the cycle path.

4
Châteaux and watermills next to the Garonne

The route continues on the cycle path, and is now tree-lined at times and at other times the views are expansive across fields and vineyards. The cycle path finishes at the edge of Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, and our new route begins by leading you through the traditional town square and onto quiet country lanes. You will cycle through small villages and alongside the Pont Eiffel (a bridge designed by the same gentleman who designed the Eiffel tower). This last section is hilly, but with the hills comes a variation in stunning scenery and is not to be missed! Tonight’s accommodation is a real highlight of the route, a magnificent chambre d’hotes, where your host, Karine, will be delighted to show you around her vineyard.
Distance of roughly 40km. Dinner and night in a chambre d’hotes (with swimming pool)

5
The Canal de Garonne

The first day on the Canal de Garonne! This is a wonderful canal, very peaceful and scenic. The trees that run along the canal are enormous, providing shade and beauty in equal measures. There are a few restaurants, bars and small villages along the route. Often on the cycle path there are also small cycle signs to take you to the nearest towns or villages, where you might find refreshments. You can also spot plenty of wildlife along the canal including fish, herons, ducks and even turtles. The route is well signposted and on a very easy cycling path, so it is easy to eat up the kilometres without any problems. This first day of cycling takes you alongside some interesting small towns including Le Mas D'Agenais and Damazan. This is an area that time has forgotten with pretty streets and town squares surrounded by shuttered houses that harbour an almost ghost-like emptiness.
Distance of roughly 59km. Night in a characterful chambre d’hotes.

6
In prune country!

Today you will leave your chambre d’hotes and rejoin the canal. You will cycle past many orchards mainly harvesting prunes (for which Agen is famous) but also now, the ever popular kiwi can be found growing in this region in large numbers. There is an opportunity to come off the canal and visit the little town of Agen, where you can sit outside one of the many terraced cafes and enjoy the sunshine. Back on the canal, keep your eye out for turtles which are often spotted here. This is a tranquil area and an easy day’s ride along the canal.
Distance of roughly 48km. Meal and night in a chambres d’hotes.

7
Churches and markets

This region of France is reputed for its markets. Don’t hesitate to ask at your chambre d’hotes if there are any markets within the area happening on that particular day. Many of these villages are just alongside the canal, making access to them very easy. There is an opportunity for you to explore the small town of Moissac, famous for being on the pilgrims’ Way of St James towards Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The town also hosts a superb Abbey. The wildlife along this part of the canal is numerous. Look out for herons in particular.
Distance of roughly either 35 or 47km. Dinner and night in a chambre d'hotes.

8
En route to Toulouse.

For your last day along the Canal de Garonne, look out for the coypu (or beaver rat) as it makes its home along the banks of the canal. The cycle path soon leads you towards Toulouse, also known as the pink city due to the colour of the stone used to build the houses here. It is possible to make a detour along the Garonne river on your way into the town, where the landscapes are splendid. Make the most of your time in Toulouse by walking around the old centre.
Distance of roughly 36 or 48km. Night and dinner in a three star hotel close to the centre of town.

9
From Toulouse to Castelnaudary

Begin the second half of your journey, now alongside the canal du Midi, passing through the city and out into the neighbouring countryside on a smooth tarmac track. Familiarise yourself with the many locks (‘Ecluse’) which abound along this half of the route. Allow yourself time to listen to the many birds that spend their time around the canal, chat to the local fishermen and watch the tourist boats chugging ever so slowly through this idyllic scenery. Spend the night in a delightful two star hotel on the banks of the canal, at Castelnaudary. Dine out on “Cassoulet” which has made this particular town famous throughout France.
Distance of roughly 60km.

10
From Castelnaudary to Carcassonne

This is a day which urges you to dawdle! One cannot help but feel at the very heart of the French countryside. The views along the tree-lined canal out towards the agricultural fields and to the Pyrenees beyond make it a special day. You cannot miss the fact that you are entering wine country, with plenty of vineyards within metres from the banks of the canal. The destination for this evening is a real treat. Carcassonne boasts two World Heritage Sites and is really unique. Spend time in the medieval city before heading back to your three star hotel on the banks of the canal.
Distance of roughly 41km.

11
Carcasonne, castles and caves

With an extra day in Carcassonne, you have the opportunity to take it easy and spend more time exploring the city. For those feeling fit and adventurous, we have prepared a fantastic day’s cycle ride away from the canal, heading into the heart of Cathar country. The ride takes you into the Black Mountains where you can visit the Chateaux de Lastours as well as an underground cave at Limousis which stretches over 1.2km. There are many opportunities to taste the local wines. Return to Carcassonne.
Roughly +300m of ascent to the Châteaux de Lastours. Roughly +600m of ascent in total when including a visit to the caves.
Distance of roughly 47Km.

12
From Carcassonne to Narbonne

This is a challenging day, as the distance covered is the longest on the trip and the cycle track by the side of the canal is rough and slow going. However, with plenty of time, this is a rewarding day with many small towns, villages and ports to enjoy along the route. Once more, there are numerous places at which you can stop to taste the local wines, sample the local food or purchase local products. Near the end of the ride, you will leave the Canal du Midi to join the Canal de la Robine. This canal takes you into the ancient city of Narbonne, where you will spend the night in a three star hotel close to both the canal and the heart of the city.
Distance of roughly 75-79km depending upon the options taken.

13
From Narbonne to the Mediterranean.

After the previously long day, this makes for an easy ride and a rewarding one as you reach the Mediterranean with the possibility of a dip in the sea! The purpose built cycle route takes you easily from the centre of Narbonne, and then out through a cluster of lakes before arriving at Port-la-Nouvelle. The Port has a fabulously long golden-sand beach and hosts many restaurants at which you can celebrate the end point of your ride from the Atlantic.
For those inclined to finish there, it is possible to take the local train back to Narbonne. Night in Narbonne.
Roughly 24km to the coast (returning on the train to Narbonne) or 48km round tour.

14
End of your holiday

Your holiday comes to an end after breakfast at your hotel. Possibility to take the train from Narbonne to Toulouse, Bordeaux or elsewhere. Please contact us if you would like us to book extra nights accommodation.

Departure board

Any day from April to November.

Technical information

Fact sheet
Starting point
  • At your hotel in Lacanau.
End
  • Your holiday finishes in Narbonne.
Accommodation
  • Hotels and chambres d'hôtes with ensuite bathrooms (either shower or bath). Potentially 3 nights accommodation with swimming pool.
Number of people
  • From two people
Level of difficulty
  • In general, this holiday uses cycle paths away from roads. Generally flat and relatively easy for the first half. After Toulouse, the cycle path is mostly an un-made dirt track (not recommended for road bikes). From between 40-50km per day with two stages at roughly 70km.
Carrying
  • Your luggage (one bag per person) is transferred daily to the next hotel.
Options
  • Supplement July and August : 70€
  • Bike rental with repatriation of the bike : 265€
  • Single supplement : 540€
  • GPS tracks on USB stick : 25€
Included
  • 13 nights in hotels and chambres d'hôtes, breakfasts, 5 evening meals, luggage transfers, route notes and basic maps (please bring your own IGN maps).
Not included
  • Transport to the starting point and after the end point of your holiday. Insurance, lunches, evening meals (except those described above), train transport, bike hire (see the supplement).

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