2 weeks ago I went back to my home country France for cycling Canal du Midi or at least a part of it.
One day in Toulouse
I am familiar with the South West of France as we spent a few summer holidays around Biarritz and Bayonne but this trip was my first time in this area.
We spent around a day in Toulouse. Not enough obviously to see every corner of the city but definitely enough to city the city’s highlight.
On the first evening, we took a little walk in the city center. We walked through the main square where is the Capitole aka the town hall square where everything happens. We went then through some main places like Saint Sernin Basilica, church of the Jacobins, Toulouse cathedral, the cute narrow streets of Toulouse to end up having a taste of the region gastronomy on one of the many squares in Toulouse at Monsieur Georges.
It was still pretty good summer weather so it was perfect to catch up the vibe of the city. Toulouse is the second biggest student city in France and the capital of Rugby so let me tell you that there is pretty much always something to do even late at night!
Where we stayed : Albert 1er hotel. A cute hotel in the city center!
The next morning we went on a bike tour with La Maison du Vélo and went through the city bridges and up to the Canal du Midi to give us a taste on what will come next.
Cycling the vineyards of Fronton
Later in the afternoon, we drove to Grenade for a lunch at “la Croisée des saveurs” to start our first e-bike trip with AVELO31
AVELEO31 is a partner of France Vélo Tourisme, a state association which aim is to promote cycle tourism in France. It helps you find the best partners and itineraries for your cycle trip in France.
Our journey took us through the famous vineyards of Haute Garonne via the Canal de Garonne.
The vineyard region next to Toulouse is famous for it’s very special wine : the Fronton wine aka “Le vin des Toulousains” in Englisch: “the wine drunk by the inhabitants of Toulouse”. We did a tasting at the Maison des vins et du Tourisme in Fronton. It is the perfect start if you want to get informed about the Fronton wine before going to visit a vineyard. We had a first tasting there and got introduced to why the Fronton wine is so special. In short, the region grows it’s unique grapes : La Negrette, used to produce this wine.
Later on we went to Chateau Caze, a family owned business. We visited the vineyard and had another tasting. It is actually pretty cool to go by bike and visit several vineyards at a time.
As there are not so many hotels in the area we slept in a guest house : Au Pigeonnier
An introduction to Canal du Midi
The next day we went south to another part of Haute Garonne. We and our luggage got pickep up by Bagafrance, a company that take your luggages from A to B. It is really useful when you travel by bike as you can’t carry your suitcase on your back! Even a backpack, for a longer journey, would be heavy and uncomfortable. As you can see, if you book a cycling journey in France, it is very well organized.
So, on the third day, we started our discovery of the Canal du midi. As the name says, it is a canal going from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean. We started our new bike trip at Lac Saint Ferreol, one of the sources of the canal de Midi. We went around the lake and then visited nearby village revel that is famous for it’s market, one of the most beautiful in France.
After the market we biked along the Rigole, the river that is one of the source of Canal du Midi and ended our trip on the actual Canal du Midi!
We didn’t see so much of the canal du Midi yet. But this was a good glimpse for another trip very soon!
On this night we also slept in a guest house : Le Souleilla
Fazit – Cycling in France
No need to say that France is really beautiful and what a better way to see it than by bike? A cycling trip in France allows you to see so much! Also always more important nowadays, it means green tourism! A cycling trip might sounds a bit difficult, involving good organization and logistic but with France Velo Tourisme, cycling in France is really easy. Booking through their partners is the guarantee of a perfect and well organized cycling trip. You will have : adapted equipment, secured bicycle shelter, repair kit, benefitting from a warm welcome (useful information and advice (routes, weather, etc…), having services adapted to cyclists: luggage transfer, washing and drying of linen, bicycle rental, bicycles washing…