Canal du Midi Cycling

From $2003 per person

****# Based on 15 customer reviews
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  • Follow the course of this great canal, mostly on quiet rural roads through Mediaeval villages and vineyards
  • Charming villages and cities including Beziers, Carcassonne and Narbonne
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Canal du Midi, Canal de la Robine and the Carcassonne citadel
  • Fabulous flora and fauna: sunflowers, vines, lavender, large array of birdlife
  • Minervois wines; great local cuisine
  • Stunning sea views; end with a dip in the Mediterranean

What's included?

  • 8 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Departs Every two days from 10 Sep '16 to 10 Oct '17
  • All continental breakfasts included
  • Managed locally by Headwater employed representative
  • Sustainability rating: 95%
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

Excellent for...

Canal du Midi Cycling

Our eight night holiday takes you on a wonderful journey through the delightful south-west of France, in the wake of renowned chef Rick Stein, allowing you to witness the astonishing feat of engineering that is the Canal du Midi. Your cycling follows the course of this impressive canal; the majority of your route takes you along wonderful quiet roads through rural France, taking in mediaeval villages and the tempting vineyards of the Minervois wine region, always keeping the canal within close proximity.

Setting off from Carcassonne, allegedly the inspiration for Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, the ancient fairytale city offers a mediaeval citadel and characterful collection of winding cobbled streets. You'll then cycle to canalside Homps, truly picturesque and quintessentially French, before the Canal de la Robine leads you through Roman Narbonne. Continue to Beziers, the birthplace of Paul Riquet who engineered and built the Canal du Midi, before travelling alongside the sand dunes and finishing your cycling in Sete, the 'Venice of Languedoc', with its warren of canals linking the Etang de Thau with the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Your hotels range from a friendly chambre d'hotes to a recently renovated C19 private mansion in Narbonne, finishing at the excellently located Grand Hotel in Sete, reminiscent of the Belle Epoque era. Three of your hotels have pools and, given the fantastic variety of restaurants, we've left evening meals up to you. This is a region proud of its local cuisine, from the local speciality Cassoulet to a mouth-watering selection of fish and seafood.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive at Carcassonne

Arrive at your modern hotel, a stone's throw from the walls of the citadel, your home for the next two nights.

Day 2 - At Carcassonne

Spend the day exploring the wonderful historic city of Carcassonne; huge walls encircle the UNESCO fairytale castle and it's certainly worth crossing over the Aude River to explore the old part of Bastide-Saint-Louis dating back to the C13. Route notes are included for an alternative option to cycle along the Aude or you may wish to take the train to Bram and cycle back along the canal.

Day 3 - Carcassone to Homps 41.5km

You start today following the Canal du Midi into Minervois wine country, passing sunflower fields and pretty hamlets, before stopping at the town of Trebes to view its atmospheric Gothic church. Then follow lovely quiet roads through traditional villages and the Etang de Marseillete to see row upon row of vines and apple orchards before arriving at canalside Homps, and the charming Jardin d'Homps for the night.

Day 4 Homps to Narbonne 40km

Leaving Homps behind, follow the canal, passing pretty villages, some impressive chateaux and wine merchants, before heading cross country, passing the charming village of St-Nazaire-d'Aude. You'll then cross the River Aude and after the hamlet of Moussan, pick up the Canal de la Robine, which takes you to the impressive city of Narbonne where you'll stay in the friendly 3 star Hotel La Residence for the next two nights.

Day 5 At Narbonne

Take time to wander around this Roman city, originally a port, now straddling the charming Canal de la Robine. The Archbishop's palace and cathedral are certainly worth viewing along with the market (held daily) in Les Halles. Those wanting to cycle can follow the Canal de la Robine down to the coast passing wonderful salt marshes with the chance of spotting flamingos.

Day 6 Narbonne to Beziers 46km/29mi

Leaving Narbonne retrace your cycle along the Canal de la Robine and follow a meandering route to the striking ruins of the Abbaye de Fontcalvy, before continuing through vineyards and meadows of sunflowers through the pretty Roman town of Capestang. You'll then re-join the Canal du Midi, passing two of its engineering gems, the Malpas Tunnel and the Fonserannes lock, before arriving in bustling Beziers and the Hotel Particulier Beziers for your next two nights.

Day 7 At Beziers

Spend time exploring one of the oldest cities in France, home of rugby, wine and festivals. The town perches over the Orb River and the canal. Wide boulevards lead to narrow streets with stunning churches and a grand cathedral. Further afield you can cycle to Portiragnes Plage, one of the nicest beaches in the area.

Day 8 Beziers to Sete 52km/32.5mi or 56km/35mi

We head away from Beziers, passing pretty villages and the Librons complex, an impressive feat of engineering. On to Agde where you will see the only round lock on the canal before heading to the end of the canal through the Bagnas Nature Reserve, a bird sanctuary. You'll then follow a wonderful coastal cycle track that separates the Mediterranean from the Bassin de Thau, before arriving at the lively port town of Sete.


For a longer tour, why not consider combining this with our Dordogne Gastronomic Cycling

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day. Please contact us on 1-800-567-6286 for further details.

Hotel l'Octroi, Carcassonne   (3 Star)

Hotel l'Octroi, Carcassonne

This 3* design hotel is just a 15 minute walk from stunning La Cite, the stunning mediaeval fortress now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Shops and bars can be found in close proximity.

The hotel has a heated swimming pool, and Carita spa area, a small bar and decking for outside seating.

The rooms are modern and bright with a funky design.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Le Jardin d'Homps, Homps   (3 Acorn)

Hotel-accommidation-

This lovely classic French townhouse is situated in the centre of sleepy Homps. Decorated in classic quirky French style it has a homely feel.

All 5 rooms are large and airy with en-suite bathrooms and juliet balconies looking over the idyllic tranquil garden and small pool.

Breakfast, weather permitting, is served on the sunny terrace and is a classic French affair all served on a large communal table.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Air conditioning

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market

Hotel La Residence , Narbonne   (3 Star)

Hotel Residence

Hotel la Residence is in a great location just 50m from the canal, and 5 minutes from the centre of Narbonne.

A C19 mansion, there is a nice mix of authentic charm and elegance, the classical public rooms make way to modern contemporary bedrooms which are of a good size.

Breakfast is a buffet affair with a good choice of local produce.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Hotel Particulier Béziers, Béziers   (3 Acorn)

Hotel Particulier de Béziers

In the heart of Béziers this townhouse offers good sized rooms and a lovely terrace area by the pool where breakfast can be taken.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Air conditioning
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Le Grand Hotel de Sète, Sète   (3 Star)

Le Grand Hotel de Sete, Sete

This charming grand 3* hotel overlooks the famous canal of Sète, and is in the heart of the city. To the rear of the hotel you find the pedestrian area of Sète with shops, bars and restaurants, the canal side in front of the hotel has a huge choice of seafood restaurants.

The hotel has a wonderful atrium and beautiful lounge area to relax as well as a comfortable bar and is a small oasis in the bustling city. The restaurant here is one of the best in Sète.

The rooms are large and airy and are individually decorated, with a mix of old and new.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Safe

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine



Extra nights and stop over hotels

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Hôtel Père Léon, Toulouse   (3 star)

Hôtel Père Léon, Toulouse

The Hôtel Père Léon is ideally situated just a short walk from the historic centre of Toulouse, with the main sights just a short walk away. Just 50 metres from the metro there is easy access to the rest of the city. The hotel is in Place Esquirol, a bustling, lively square and in close proximity to many bars and restaurants.

The hotel itself has a modern contemporary feel, which has been recently renovated. The ensuite rooms have soundproof windows and all mod cons. Breakfast is a buffet affair with a good choice of French staples, and a hot section.

The hotel has its own bistro restaurant with seats outside where you can enjoy a drink or dinner.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • Diners Club card accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Travel options

Transfers included from Carcassonne train station at 15:30 Mon-Fri, 14:27 Sat & Sun and back to Sete train station at 12:00 Mon & Tues & 11:55 Weds-Sun.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Reviewed by Mr Gray on 11/09/2016

*****
This was an interesting holiday because of the towns visited and their differing charactters - also the passage along the Canal du Midi. Food was always available of varying type. Carcassonne Cité was a historic experience, as was Narbonne and Béziers. Sete unusual because of canals and maritime background. Cycling was not hard, except that the weather was unusually hot for the time of year (September) (even to locals). Having days off cycling in Carcassonne, Narbonne, Béziers and Sete was extremely helpful. Allowed some rest and catch up if there were problems.

Reviewed by Mr Allan on 10/10/2015

*****
Excellent - easy cycling - interesting route

Reviewed by Mr Mitchell on 28/09/2015

*****
Excellent scenery, route notes, bikes, food, and winetasting. The cycling was fine (don't understand why others have complained about tree roots, the paths were fine). But, no Headwater rep, no Day one talk about the route and dining suggestions. Bikes arrived on Day 2 and that was the only contact with a Headwater Representative. Why not at least collect us from the train in Carcassone? It all worked, but you have lost the personal touch that Headwater used to have. Also, the standard of the hotels was poor, the Beziers one in particular and only including one meal for the price was viewed as you being cheapskates, rather than of benefit. I like Headwater and this was our 7th trip and won't be our last. It was a great holiday, but watch out, you are too remote and are letting standards slip. If you don't improve hotels, value for money and on the ground Reps, you will start to lose support.
Headwater response:
Dear Mr Mitchell, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday feedback questionnaire. We were pleased to read you enjoyed the scenery, food and wine this region has to offer. Although were sorry to see you were disappointed with the service you received. As we continually strive to improve our holidays, we have made some improvements for the 2016 season. Firstly, we have made this area a Headwater rep region and because of this will be using our own bikes and transportation service. We have also changed the hotel in Bezier. We hope you will agree these changes will continue to improve this holiday for future customers. We would like to thank you for continued loyalty and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future. Yours sincerely, Headwater customer service team

Reviewed by Ms Brandao on 28/09/2015

*****
Fantastic service. You fulfill your promises, which is very much appreciated. Your staff is very good. Would suggest to review the instruction on your guide on the path from the Abbaye the Fontacalvy to Capestang: we got lost after descending the hill from Ouveillan to catch the D418 and eventually got into a very busy and so dangerous road . Not clear how to get the D418 road. Fantastic end with a room with a great view to the canal in the hotel in Sete. Hotels in Narbonne and Beziers have a great location, but are not so good. Overall a great vacation. Thank you, guys.

Reviewed by Mr Barnett on 27/09/2015

***#.
For people of our age and cycling experience the condition of much of the canal side paths were very difficult at times. We were advised that there are problems regarding the removal of trees at present and that diversions were likely. However I am not convinced that that is the main cause. Having cycled on similar routes in the UK, Germany, Austria and Italy I suspect that the standards in France are different. I think you should make this more clear in your literature. One other thing that would be appreciated is if you could arrange for the hotels to have our luggage in the room on arrival or at least to offer to take it to our room. On most occasions in the past this has happened. Only on one occasion (Homps) did this happen. On this subject we personally would have appreciated not being on an upper floor as my wife does not like using lifts (I will make a point of asking for this in the future). We did have occasion to call out the cycle company and due to an initial doubt as to whether our message would be heard and dealt with for the next day I called your UK office and was pleased with the response and assurances received. We received a replacement bike by 10.30 the next day.

Reviewed by Mrs Eatwell on 18/09/2015

*****
Cycling was very easy, although the maps provided were not good. The IGN Carte De promenade 65 and 72 1:100,000 show the Canal Du Midi clearly - fortunately we already had these maps. On the whole, the notes were good, but a bit too detailed in some bits - we found entering Beziers very confusing and ended up on a busy road. Along the canal, infected trees are currently being cut down and burnt, so parts of the route were barracaded off, and we had to use our maps and go onto local roads. Hotels are good, apart from the Imperator in Beziers, which is average, but it is in a good location for getting around and in and out of Beziers. We're glad we booked an extra night at the end in Sete - the Grand Hotel is lovely (we got a canal view room as requested) and Sete is really interesting. Throughout the holiday, we had lovely food and great wine. So with the cycling being easy, we've not lost any weight !!!!

Reviewed by Mr Windwood on 30/08/2015

*****
This is a great holiday though not really for inexperienced cyclists due to the surface of the paths and roads in some places as well as the need to cycle on roads with some traffic. The distances and lack of hills make it an easy route but some degree of competance is needed. Hotels were good and we enjoyed the riding.

Reviewed by Mrs Burnett on 29/08/2015

***#.
A lovely experience in a nice part of France where the people are very welcoming

Reviewed by Mrs Kimber on 17/07/2015

*****
It was a super holiday cycling through beautiful Canal du Midi but there were a few minor clitches that could have spoilt the holiday if we had let it. We stayed in some lovely locations at a range of hotels. Despite no Rep being seen all our luggage got to where it needed to be on time and safely.

Reviewed by Mr Dunbar on 01/07/2015

***#.
Enjoyed the cycling alot, lovely countryside, great food. Expensive for what you get, considering only on e evening meal included.

Reviewed by Mr Evans on 26/06/2015

***#.
At heart it is a great holiday concept but we question whether Headwater any longer deserve to be the market leader.

Reviewed by Mrs Boulton-Jones on 24/06/2015

***#.
Holiday was expensive for what we received. Lovely region of France.

Reviewed by Mr Goss on 24/06/2015

***#.
This was our first trip with Headwater, having had good recommendations from friends (hikers). We have done many cycling trips with other companies. Organisation and information from Headwater was copious and helpful, EXCEPT: We want to have large scale maps with the route marked (like other companies do). 1:100,000 maps are fine for driving, but not for cycling. I spent several hours before we traveled printing maps and trying to mark the route from the route description. Despite this we made some errors in navigation; annoying. The A4 description sheets are awkwardly big to mount on a handlebar rack.

Reviewed by Mr Christian on 03/06/2015

***#.
The cycling guide notes were excellent up to the section between Beziers to Sete. This section was quite vague in places and we got lost twice. The maps were of little use due to their large scale on the one occasion that we really needed them due to a diversion, they were no help at all. Other than that the accommodation was really good.

Reviewed by Mr Godfree on 24/05/2015

***#.
All arrangements worked perfectly. Bikes were excellent with comfortable saddles and springing - vital for bumpy towpaths. Luggage was always waiting for us at the next hotel. Fascinating canal architecture with plenty to see (watching boats going through the locks is entertaining). The prevailing wind (Tramontane) is generally behind apart from the out and back at Narbonne. Shade is provided along the towpath sections by plane trees. Hotel L'Octroi in Carcassone is well placed for visiting La Cite on foot and the airport shuttle bus actually passes the hotel just before the final stop (there even appears to be a stop outside which I guess the driver would drop you at if asked). Le Jardin d'Homps is a real French experience, as it was wet we were not tempted to use the garden and pool. Hotel le Residence is very convenient for the canal. Hotel Imperator seems a long intricate slog uphill on arrival but was worth it. Hotel le Grand is indeed 'grand'. We had an excellent room overlooking the canals but with triple glazing so no noise from the street below.

Departure dates & prices

September 2016 departuresTour only 
Sep 20$2003
Sep 22$2003
Sep 24$2003
Sep 26$2003
Sep 28$2003
Sep 30$2003
October 2016 departuresTour only 
Oct 2$2003
Oct 4$2003
Oct 6$2003
Oct 8$2003
Oct 10$2003
May 2017 departuresTour only 
May 11$1809
May 13$1809
May 15$1809
May 17$1809
May 19$1809
May 21$1809
May 23$1809
May 25$1809
May 27$1809
May 29$1809
May 31$1809
June 2017 departuresTour only 
Jun 2$1828
Jun 4$1828
Jun 6$1828
Jun 8$1828
Jun 10$1828
Jun 12$1828
Jun 14$1873
Jun 16$1873
Jun 18$1873
Jun 20$1873
Jun 22$1873
Jun 24$1873
Jun 26$1873
Jun 28$1873
Jun 30$1873
July 2017 departuresTour only 
Jul 2$1873
Jul 4$1873
Jul 6$1873
Jul 8$1873
Jul 10$1887
Jul 12$1887
Jul 14$1887
Jul 16$1887
Jul 18$1887
Jul 20$1887
Jul 22$1887
Jul 24$1887
Jul 26$1887
Jul 28$1887
Jul 30$1887
August 2017 departuresTour only 
Aug 1$1887
Aug 3$1887
Aug 5$1887
Aug 7$1887
Aug 9$1887
Aug 11$1887
Aug 13$1887
Aug 15$1887
Aug 17$1887
Aug 19$1887
Aug 21$1887
Aug 23$1887
Aug 25$1887
Aug 27$1887
Aug 29$1887
Aug 31$1887
September 2017 departuresTour only 
Sep 2$1828
Sep 4$1828
Sep 6$1828
Sep 8$1828
Sep 10$1828
Sep 12$1809
Sep 14$1809
Sep 16$1809
Sep 18$1809
Sep 20$1809
Sep 22$1809
Sep 24$1809
Sep 26$1809
Sep 28$1809
Sep 30$1809
October 2017 departuresTour only 
Oct 2$1809
Oct 4$1809
Oct 6$1809
Oct 8$1809
Oct 10$1809

Holiday details

Holiday type

Self-guided cycling, hotel-to-hotel. Managed locally by Headwater employed rep.

Departures

Every two days from 10 Sep '16 to 10 Oct '17, for 9 days (8 nights).

Meals

All continental breakfasts included .

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

Transfers included from Carcassonne train station at 15:30 Mon-Fri, 14:27 Sat & Sun and back to Sete train station at 12:00 Mon & Tues & 11:55 Weds-Sun.

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

We'd like to keep you informed of our latest news and special offers. Please tick here if you'd rather not receive our free e-newsletter.
We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.

 

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  • Relaxed activity holidays since 1985

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