Arrival and exploring historic Carcossonne
We will pick you up at Carcossonne airport and transport you and your bike to the ancient town of Carcassonne which is the starting point of your tour.
With its amazing castle and ramparts, Carcassonne is one of the best preserved medieval fortified towns and is a designated UNESCO World heritage site.
Walk along the protective walls surrounding the medieval city (a distance of approx 3km and including 52 towers). The count’s castle which stands against the old enclosure is an excellent introduction to medieval military architecture. There are two main gates into the fortified city, the Aude gate and the Narbonne Gate featuring two enormous towers.
Explore the historic centre with its many narrow streets and artisan shops. Be sure to stop and admire the Saint-Nazaire Basilica.
Select one of the many restaurants in the old town for a traditional Languedoc feast.
No formal cycling today. Take your time to explore the town while we assemble your bikes for tomorrow’s ride
Carcasonne to Olonzac
Today you begin your ride along the canal. The route is tranquil and beautiful – pale green and lined with plane trees. Today is one of the longest days in the saddle, totalling about 45km, and finishes in the classic Minervois town of Olonzac.
Picturesque Olonzac sits in the vines, a short distance from the Canal du Midi and its lively weekly market makes it the economic heart throb of Minervois. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of cycling.
Distance: 45km, Climbing 160m
Sunflowers and Lavendar: Olonzac to Bize Minervois
Today’s route partly follows the canal and partly meanders through the surrounding countryside, pedalling among sunflowers and lavender. The sleepy golden-stoned village of Bize-Minervois sits prettily astride the Cesse river, with a lovely swimming spot.
There is a romantic feel to Bize-Minervoise, with old stone houses covered in ivy with bright shutters and decorative iron balconies, old fashioned little shops, narrow cobbled alleys and gingham table cloths.
Visit the nearby co-operative of L’Oubilo for fantastic olive tasting and the Chateau de Cabezac to sample the local red wine.
Distance: 32km, Climbing 210m
Through the vines to Capestang
This route will escape for the most of day from the enclosed route along the canal to explore the many local vineyards and charming villages.
There are many opportunities to stop for a break and/or a tipple along the way.
Finish in Capestang, which is a bustling centre full of cozy bars and restaurants. Markets on Wednesday and Sunday mornings on the Place Jean Jaurès provide an opportunity to sample the local produce and specialities.
Distance: 32km, Climbing 410m
Follow the Canal to Beziers
Béziers is built upon a stone bluff in a bend of the Orb river. Its beautiful houses and churches have seen some horrific, historical events, including the public burning in 1209 of several hundred Cathars and their sympathisers.
Happily the town’s history also has a lighter side, in the traditions of wine production and art. The works of architects and sculptors can be admired at every turn, notably the sculptor Injalbert.
The Canal du Midi was begun here by one of the town’s most famous sons, Paul Riquet. The waterways of Béziers, river and canal, were vital transport links in taking the region’s wine to far horizons. In the 19th century Béziers became the undisputed capital of the Languedoc wine producing region,
Distance, 22km, Climbing 160m
To the Sea: Bezier to Adge
Following the canal to Adge, you will pass the historic L’Écluse Ronde, a canal lock that connects the Hérault River to the Canal du Midi. Built in 1676, it’s unique round design allowed boats to turn around. The lock is still in use, but is no longer round as it was expanded in 1978 to allow larger boats to pass.
The canal opens up as it approaches the Mediterranean. Here the towpath is newly paved most of the way and backed by dunes.
Why not stop for a refreshing dip in the sea at Portiragnes Plage.
Distance: 30km, Climbing 145m
Rest day and heading home
Today is a rest day to further explore the roman town of Agde or hit the beach. Alternatively, you can take a short ride down the coast to the quaint fishing villages of Marseillan, Meze or Sete.
Enjoy the seaside views and be sure to stop at one of the local oyster trucks or beach cafes for a taste of the local delicacy.
Final day and heading home. We will help you dissemble and pack your bike for the return voyage.