View route on map

Vineyards, Views & Mediterranean Blues

Tour: FMTA7
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday
Linear Cycling Holiday

Cycling the shaded waterside paths of the Canal du Midi and River Aude from Toulouse to Cap d’Agde just has to be the coolest way to explore the Languedoc vineyard landscapes of France’s warmly welcoming southwest! From ‘ville rose’ Toulouse to the pale, sandy beaches of the Med, you’ll be clocking up the locks, admiring aqueducts, tunnels and bridges, and counting the ‘caves du vin’. There are châteaux, Cathar villages and Castelnaudry’s famous ‘cassoulet’ speciality on the menu too. But nothing compares to the fortified, ochre-coloured castle city of Carcassonne – a magnificent halfway point treat on this iconic and hugely rewarding linear cycle tour to the Mediterranean Sea. Read More


Europe, France

Start Day

Any Day

Board Basis

Bed & Breakfast

Prices from



7 Days, 6 Nights


Apr - Oct

Tour Grade

Grade 2-3 (Easy-Moderate)

Read Overview
Home > Europe > Vineyards, Views & Mediterranean Blues


From Toulouse through Cathar villages and Languedoc vineyards all the way to the sandy beaches of Cap d’Agde on the Mediterranean coast, this linear tour hugs the waterside paths of the historic Canal du Midi, making for a refreshing, easy-going cycling holiday. Encountering the South West’s famous pilgrimage paths and trading routes, it combines stunning open scenery, industrial heritage and impressive architecture, influenced by all the cultures under the warm Mediterranean sun. The impressive line-up of historic highlights includes Toulouse, Castelnaudary, Carcassonne and Agde as well as the famous Malpas canal tunnel and the staircase of nine canal locks at Fonseranes near Béziers.

Tour Code:
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday, Linear Cycling Holiday
Europe, France
Canal du Midi
7 Days, 6 Nights
Board Basis:
Bed & Breakfast
Apr - Oct


Day 1 Arrive & explore

Toulouse may be affectionately known as ‘la ville rose’, but you’ll soon discover that it’s hardly a shying violet! Here, big is beautiful and France’s fourth largest city, the capital of the Occitaine area, is out to impress.

Amazing engineering couldn’t be more at home. As if the awesome architecture lining the mighty River Garonne or the start point of 150 mile long Canal du Midi UNESCO World Heritage Site weren’t enough, Toulouse is the aeronautics capital of Europe. The sky’s the limit then and to get your visit off to a flying start, why not take in one of the many aeroplane museums and attractions on the west bank?

Alternatively head the colourful city centre around the Place du Capitole, packed full of bridges and bright façades including the impressive pink belfry tower of the pilgrimage Jacobins church and monastery. And don’t miss Le Capitole itself (neo-classical town hall) – home to state rooms, sumptuous painting galleries, plus the famous Toulouse opera house. The Basilica Saint-Sernin, reputedly one of the finest churches in France, is a must too.

So where to land after all that? Maison Assézat in the Daurade quarter just across from the Pont Neuf is the perfect place. Take a seat in the courtyard of Toulouse’s most irresistible Renaissance mansion and suspend time as you sip on a coffee or glass of something deliciously local – it’s what holidays are made of.

Overnight in Toulouse.

Day 2 Towpaths & pilgrim paths to ‘Cassoulet Country’

You’ll have the Canal du Midi and its stream of boats for companions as you cycle out from Toulouse onto the wide fertile plains of the Lauragais region. And what a contrast! Leaving the towering heights and massive Romanesque architecture of the city behind, the landscape soon swaps to gentle, hill-backed countryside, dotted with canal locks, low-lying churches and more modest bell-towers, like the one at Montesquieu-Lauragais. Woad for dyeing textiles was big 16th century business here and the area was soon dubbed ‘Pays de Cocagne’, referring to the little ‘cakes’ of woad traded here.

Cathar Crusaders and journeying Santiago de Compostella pilgrims also brought wealth to this ‘Land of Plenty’, as the magnificent 14th century Gothic church of Notre-Dame des Miracles testifies at Aignonet-Lauragais. Some half-timbered town houses here date from the 1200s, but it’s the castle, ramparts and tales of the horrific 13th century Cathar massacre which leave the biggest impression…

From food for thought to more wholesome Haute Garonne offerings – no stop-over at the port of Castelnaudary would be complete without sampling ‘sur place’ its renowned local dish, the hot-pot favourite, Cassoulet. A hearty meat and bean stew, it almost equates to the UK’s Lent pancake – a use-up-everything-to-hand sort of recipe, reputedly created to beef up the locals before England’s Plantagenet Black Prince besieged the town in 1355.

Overnight in Castelnaudary.

Miles  38 Kms 60

Day 3 Carcassonne castle encounters

More photogenic locks, aqueducts and bridges to view or cross today on route to castle capital, Carcassonne! Pedal through beautiful landscapes along the Canal du Midi towards Bram, where it’s worth briefly leaving the towpath to explore this ‘circulade’ village-cum-port, with its early medieval streets and town walls encircling the fortress church.

After picturesque Rebenty aqueduct and Béteillie lock, the little village of Sainte-Eulalie encourages another quick detour for a closer look at its Romanesque belltower – likewise the fortified village of Pennautier complete with 17th century castle.

But nothing compares to (or prepares you for!) the mighty medieval fortress city of Carcassonne, set on the banks of the River Aude – the biggest surviving fortress of its kind in Europe, with over 50 towers and bastions. Significantly restored in the 19th century, the castle dominates and incorporates the city, and the defences deliver some fantastic views of the beautiful Aude countryside. Don’t miss a stroll along ‘Les Lices’, the lawned stretches between the double walls, for a breath-taking sense of the scale of the place, but you’ll want to pop in to some of the other outstanding attractions like the Musée des Beaux-Arts and Satint-Nazaire Basilica too.

Overnight in Carcassonne.

Miles  26  Kms  42

Day 4 More tales of canal & river paths

A day of shady plane trees and cypresses, vineyards and villages on route to Vauban’s ‘argent double’ engineering masterpiece at La Redorte and the ancient commercial harbour a little further along the Canal du Midi at Homps.

At Trèbes you’ll encounter the old Roman crossing of the Aude River, built to enable their military road to stretch from Carcassonne to Narbonne unhindered. But there’s plenty of magnificent 17th century engineering to wonder at too. Count the locks and look out for canal ‘architecture’ created between 1666-1680 including the fine Orbiel aqueduct.

Finally pass through or close to château-dotted vineyard villages like Puichéric and Roquecourbe-Minervois to La Redorte, home to the ‘argent double’ system created by Vauban to keep the Canal du Midi canal clear of flood waters, and the former commercial port of Homps.

Overnight in Homps (or La Redorte).

Miles  26 (23) Kms 42 (37)

Day 5 Harping back to its hey-day  

A day of pedalling the towpaths of the Canal du Midi as it runs alongside the River Aude through the Minervois area.

Pass Argens-Minervois and the turreted castle of Ventenac-en-Minervois as you enjoy the cool shade of pines and plane trees and pedal by the boating highway to Le Somail. This village is full to the brim with canal history, complete with storehouses, a chapel, humpback bridge and travellers’ rest all dating back to the time of the canal’s construction.

The bridge of Argeliers comes into view on the way to historic Capestang – a charming place for an overnight. Don’t miss the 14th century Collegiate Church of Saint-Etienne – reputedly Languedoc’s finest example of Gothic architecture – or the early medieval castle, once residence of the archbishops of Narbonne.

Overnight in Capestang.

Miles  26 (30) Kms 42 (48)

Day 6 Rocks, locks & two beautiful beaches

Time to head for the Med, taking in some of the Canal du Midi’s finest masterpieces along the way. Canal-hugging cycling leads first to the awesome Malpas Tunnel carved into solid rock, followed by the amazing nine lock wonder known as the Fonseranes Staircase near historic Béziers.

From Agde, where the square towers and black basalt fortifications of St Etienne cathedral rise above the Hérault river quayside, point the handlebars southwards, leaving the waterways to dip down the delta towards the Mediterranean Sea. Heading for the beaches by the picturesque Pointe de Rochelongue, your overnight at the Cap d’Agde is just a short distance from the wide sandy stretches and cooling Mediterranean breezes – time to put your feet up, or a toe in the water perhaps?

Overnight in Cap d’Agde.

Miles  31  Kms  50

Day 7 Depart after breakfast

Leave Cap d’Agde after breakfast. Transfer by taxi to Agde to enjoy the Mediterranean flavours of this originally Greek city. There are regional trains from Agde to Béziers and back to Carcassonne if you wish.

We can also offer a 5 day itinerary along Canal du Midi. We are happy to discuss details of this tour.

A note about the path:
The surface of the path varies in quality by local authority; it is mostly good, largely gravel with some stretches of tarmac and others of grass or dirt. You do however need to watch out for tree roots in places – more of an issue when the leaves start to fall.
The other point to note is that path closures do pop up for essential maintenance work. There is usually a signed diversion.

Dates & Prices

Download Prices

For tour start days/dates, seasons and all prices, please click on the PRICES button above


Ensuite accommodation as described in 2 and 3 star hotels or guesthouses with buffet/continental breakfast (prices based on two adults sharing)

Upgraded accommodation is in 3 and 4 star hotels (or 4 star equivalent guesthouses) with buffet/continental breakfast (prices based on two adults sharing)

Hire of hybrid bicycle and ancillary equipment (panniers, lock & puncture repair equipment). Bike delivery is normally the morning of day 2

Luggage transfer between hotels (limited to one bag per person (max 20kgs)

Local assistance on call (although puncture repair is excluded)

Information pack with detailed joining instructions and daily route overviews sent out approximately 2 weeks before departure so you can plan ahead and look forward to your cycling

Printed routing information will be waiting for you at the hotel.

All local visitors’ taxes

Please note that the price EXCLUDES

Costs of getting to and from the tour area

Taxi / Train fares

Accommodation Options

Selected 2 and 3 star hotels or guesthouses in Toulouse, Castlenaudary, Carcassonne, Homps (or La Redorte), Capestang and Cap d’Agde.


Selected 3 & 4 star hotels ( or 4 star equivalent guesthouses) throughout.
We are pleased to discuss hotel details on request.


Final night in Béziers
As an alternative to staying in Cap D’Agde, it is possible to return to spend the night in the larger and more cosmopolitan Béziers by train (with your bike). Train ticket is not included. If this option is selected there will be a discount when using standard accommodation (no change in price when using the upgraded accommodation).

We are pleased to discuss details on request.

More Information

Useful websites, travel information and tips to help you plan your journey to and from the country and location of your holiday.


Request Booking