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Canal De La Garonne: Cycling from Bordeaux to Toulouse

Canal De La Garonne: Cycling from Bordeaux to Toulouse

Overview

The Canal de la Garonne may well be the little brother of the famous Canal du Midi, but it is no less impressive. It is, in fact, the continuation of the Canal du Midi, which connects the Mediterranean with Toulouse. This route makes the most of a great network of cycle paths and green lanes. On this trip, you will be able to experience the pure joy of cycling without worrying about car traffic or challenging hills and ride at your own pace from the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Occitanie.

  • The beautiful city of Bordeaux
  • A largely traffic-free itinerary, mostly on green lanes and cycle tracks, with very few hills along the route
  • A great mix between leisurely cycling and discovering historic towns and villages
  • Many options for pleasant detours exploring the local châteaus and vineyards

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Bordeaux

Travel by train, plane or car to Bordeaux, well-connected by public transport. Settle in at your comfortable centrally-located hotel, then venture out to explore beautiful Bordeaux, an elegant town on the banks of the River Garonne whose very name evokes images of silky wines with a ruby red glow.

Day 2: Bordeaux to Cadillac | 49 km

Your first route takes you quickly out of town via a cycling path on the right bank of the Garonne. In Latresne, you turn north to follow a converted railway. At the Romanesque abbey in La Sauve, you turn southward on quiet tarmac lanes to reach the town of Cadillac and your hotel, situated below the impressive 18th-century “Chateau de Cadillac”.

Day 3:  Cadillac to Meilhan sur Garonne/Marcellus | 45 km

You start off again on winding inland lanes to avoid the busy road between Cadillac and Saint Macair. You will have to do some ascents, but a rewarding landscape awaits – impressive estates, vineyards and tiny typically-French villages. After a visit to the Bastide de St Macair, you cross the Garonne to the beginning of “la véloroute des Deux Mers” – your cycling route “between two seas”. Accommodation tonight at a charming guesthouse in Meilahn-sur-Garonne, or a bit further inland (8 km) in Marcellus.

  • Cycling for the day: 45 km ↑431 m ↓385 m
  • Accommodation: B&B Font d’Uzas or similar in Meilahn-sur-Garonne or Marcellus

Day 4: Meilahn-sur-Garonne to Sérignac-sur-Garonne | 60 km

Today you follow the Canal de la Garonne, cycling on the flat from Meilhan-sur-Garonne all the way to Serignac. Enjoy the shade of ancient plane trees and take time to make small detours along the way. Savour a cup of coffee on the beautiful village square in Damazan, with its fortress and historic arcades. Another stop could be Tonneis, worth the 10 km detour for its lovely square on the banks of the Garonne and a wide choice of restaurants, cafes and shops.

  • Cycling for the day: 60 km ↑340 m ↓355 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Prince Noir or similar in Serignac sur Garonne

Day 5: Sérignac-sur-Garonne to Moissac | 57 km

Today, you begin with a gentle section along the canal among plane trees and orchards. After 10 km the channel intersects with an aqueduct, creating a unique way to reach Agen with its pleasant city centre and renowned Museum of Arts. Your route then continues along the canal, tucked in between the railway and a busy road until you reach Valence d’Agen, another beautiful town with curious round washhouses. Your last section is peaceful once again, as you fully enjoy the scenery on your way to the historic town of Mossaic, a UNESCO world heritage site and important stop on the “Chemin de Saint Jacques” coming in from Geneva, with the 11th-century Abbey of St Pierre and its stunning cloister.

Day 6: Moissac to Toulouse | 70 km

Via the beautiful Pont-Canal du Cacor you cross the river Tarn and reach Castelsarrasin with its small port and 13th century Abbey of Belleperche. In the shade of old planes you now follow an uninterrupted, quiet track to the centre of Toulouse. The last km short of this ‘pink’ town are somewhat noisier. There’s a lot to see on the way: the water slope in Montech, the special Ponts-Jumeaux and the junction of 3 canals. After Grisoles with its brick houses you reach the historic Castelnau-d’Estrétefonds. From here you can, if you wish, cover the last 25 km of this ‘Canal de la Garonne’ route by train. Take the time to visit this wonderful city’s sights: from the Saint Sernin basilica to the Jacobin convent and many others, the city is home to an impressive quantity of fine architectural and heritage sites

  • Cycling for the day: 70 km ↑272 m ↓193 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Royal Wilson or similar in Toulouse

Day 7: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. Departure on your own or add extra nights.

What to Expect

Accommodation

On this cycling holiday, you will be staying at comfortable 2-star, 3-star hotels and guesthouses. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. Some accommodations have a swimming pool.

Click to view default hotels

Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Brekaftas is included on each morning and 2 dinners on days 3 & 4. When no restaurant location is available en route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or you can pre-order a packed lunch at your hotel. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced cyclists and requires a basic level of fitness. The daily distances vary between 50 km and 70 km, with a minimum altitude gain. The route goes mostly on designated cycling roads along the Garonne canal, with some hilly areas, so you will not be disturbed by any car traffic (read more about difficulty grades). It is also possible to rent an electric bike, so this way,, the tour would be accessible to everybody. The routes are easy to follow, and we provide detailed route notes and GPS tracks, which you can load on any device or application. The route notes that accompany each itinerary give a detailed account of your route to give you continual points of reference, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from mid-April until mid-October. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Besides Paris Airport, you can also fly into and out of Bordeaux or Toulouse airports.

By train or bus

Arrival in Bordeaux
Flying to Bordeaux airport: From Bordeaux airport or train station (Gare St Jean), there are direct bus services to Place de Quinconces in the city centre, very close to your hotel.
Flying to Toulouse airport: You can connect to Bordeaux by train (several direct services a day).
Flying to Paris: You can take the TGV (high-speed train) to Bordeaux, ~2 h 15 min). For timetables and further information, look at the website of the SNCF.

Departure from Toulouse: There are direct trains back to Bordeaux.

Train connections from the UK
Take the Eurostar from London St-Pancras International to Paris (Gard du Nord). Please check the SNCF website for more details on schedules and prices. The total journey time is about 5.5 hours.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights in private rooms with en-suite facilities
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners on days 3 & 4
  • Luggage transport on cycling days (1 piece per person up to 20 kg)
  • Tour materials: detailed roadbook including maps (digital format), a navigation app for smartphones, and GPS tracks
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, 4 dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Additional travel-related changes in the programme due to bad weather
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • All personal expenses
  • Bike rental
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights before the tour, along the way and at the end of the tour can be booked on request
  • Bike rental: hybrid bikes and e-bikes; extra days bike rental

Bike Rental

Hybrid Bike Rental: BATAVUS Zonar, 27 Speed. The bikes come with pannier, handlebar bag, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock

E-bike rental: SPARTA. The bikes come with pannier, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock

Sample pictures below; note that the exact models might be different depending on the availability, but the standard will be the same.

Gallery

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