Les canals des deux mers

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Noelinspain, 18 Jul 2019.

  1. Noelinspain

    Noelinspain Well-Known Member

    Having in the last five years cycled the length of the Danube from its source to Budapest and (last year) the Rhine from Cologne to Switzerland (both ways, moving on by car every two days to avoid carrying luggage!), I have more or less decided, on the spur of the moment, to do the Atlantic-Med route along the Garonne and the Canal du Midi from the end of August. To minimise time spent at the wheel of my car (I live near Malaga) I'm thinking of aiming for Toulouse, where there's a reasonably priced Ibis Budget hotel right on the Canal, leave my car there and cycle first west to Bordeaux, returning by train to Toulouse, then east to Sète, once again returning by train. If anyone has done this route fairly recently I'd appreciate any tips. I'm expecting a guide to the route (in my second language, Spanish) to drop through my letterbox shortly and will then plan my trip in earnest. I expect it will still be pretty hot in Southern France at the end of August and into September, but I'll cope!
     
    Pat "5mph" and Rooster1 like this.
  2. Cycleops

    Cycleops Guru

    Location:
    Accra, Ghana
    Cant help you with the route I'm afraid but I can tell you if it's very hot you'll need to keep well hydrated so take plenty of water. The heat will also take it toll on your energy, especially if you are like me advanced in years, so take plenty of rest stops.
    Good luck.
     
    Noelinspain likes this.
  3. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Veteran

    It's been a few years since I did that route.

    Toulouse -> Bordeaux is ok. You follow the canal to La Reole then climb the hill to an old railway line and follow that to Bordeaux. Tarmac all the way.
    The other way was more interesting. Look at the route on the Open Cycle map. The solid red line was tarmac and the dotted red line was a grass track with tree roots. Hence it was more "interesting" on a recumbent trike. But I don't know if the tarmac has been extended any since I did it and the maps not up to date.

    Luck .......... :biggrin:
     
    Noelinspain likes this.
  4. Brains

    Brains Guru

    Location:
    Greenwich
    Did it a few years back, Med to Atlantic, in August, it was hot ......

    As above, the Med end was bumpy and we resorted to the roads.
    There are not a lot of villages en-route, so for drink and lunch stops we had to deviate off the canal

    I'd suggest allowing at least an afternoon or an overnight in Carcassonne which is the real highlight of the trip
     
    Noelinspain likes this.
  5. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    I have done much of it. If you read my blog you will see comments https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=2sf&doc_id=17453&v=DE but essentially from about 10km West of Castelnaudary towards Toulouse and onwards is all paved.

    East of that point is a lottery. Rutted, rooty and having to stare at the track 2m ahead. And really dull tree/canal scenery

    When France has so many pretty country lanes, I would personally avoid the Canal du Midi and whatever it is called further west. However I did have one of my best ever campsites at St Martin de Lalande

    Sorry to be negative - you may love it!
     
    Noelinspain likes this.
  6. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    https://www.openstreetmap.org/search?query=castelnaudary#map=12/43.3048/1.9187&layers=C shows the dotted bits
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Noelinspain

    Noelinspain Well-Known Member

    I’ve been to Carcassonne before. Watched the final of the 2006 World Cup in the main square. Many disappointed French fans when Italy won! But you are right, it’s a place you must visit!
     
  8. OP
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    Noelinspain

    Noelinspain Well-Known Member

    Travel update, for those of you interested! On reflection, and bearing in mind the high cost of decent hotel accommodation in France, I have decided to camp. My first port of call (19 August) will now be La Reole (coincidentally mentioned by Tigerbiten!), where I've booked into the Camping Municipal for four nights and from there over the next three days I hope to cover the length of the route from Bordeaux to Le Mas d'Agenais, in both directions. I'll then move on to Valence d'Agen (Camping Municipal Val de Garonne) for three nights to cover the stretch from Le Mas d'Agenais to Moissac, once again in both directions (but with the option to let the train take the strain for one short return stretch). I've had no luck so far in booking into a campsite for the next stage, so may have to play it by ear, but I have already identified a campsite near Castelnaudary/St-Martin-Lalinde (Domaine de la Capelle) which looks really good and may be the one that impressed jay clock. Considering the reportedly dodgy state of the path along he Canal du Midi itself (as confirmed by my excellent guide book) I plan to cycle one way only where I can and return by train to base. I do however have one snag. It dawned on me only a couple of days ago that my Spanish driving permit expires on 3 September, so if my new one, applied for this morning, doesn't arrive by the end of next week, I may have to curtail my trip by a few days. I have a temporary licence for three months after the 3rd, but only for driving in Spain. We all know how vigilant the French Police are, so I'd be taking no chances in France without a valid driving permit!!
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Noelinspain

    Noelinspain Well-Known Member

    PS. Just been reading jay clock's blog - I was right about the campsite near St-Martin-Lalinde.
     
    jay clock likes this.
  10. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    Simply fabulous and if you call ahead you may get as lucky as I did with the food
     
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