A canal listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

With Canal des Deux Mers cycling holidays, you’ll ride along the Canal de Garonne leads from Bordeaux to Toulouse in the south of France. This section is called the “Canal des Deux Mers” (the canal of the two seas). These waterways connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. There are a lot of barges and river cruise on this waterway. It’s a great itinerary between vineyards and medieval villages, along the Garonne. You will gently cross beautiful towns and cultural sites like Moissac.

Many cities in Aquitaine known for their cultural heritage and / or their gastronomy mark out your cycling route: Bordeaux the proud for their chateaux and red wines, Agen and its prunes, Montauban and its old medieval center, Toulouse the pink city, Castelnaudary and its delicious cassoulet, Carcassonne on a hilltop with its impressive medieval city and these rampart. But this bike route also crosses wine regions with very different traditions like Sauveterre-de-Guyenne or the Minervois.

The oldest canal in Europe still in operation

Canal Du Midi is considered as an extraordinary 17th century feat of engineering. It has been an UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996. The Canal de Garonne which runs from Toulouse to Bordeaux is part of the Canal des Deux Mers. It’s a really romanesque countryside.

The Romans were the first to contemplate a waterway joining the Atlantic to the Mediterranean but were unsuccessfull. Later, Charlemagne also revisited this idea but abandoned it after carefull studies. Finally, a Béziers native called Pierre-Paul Riquet started looking into the problem during the 1600’s. Paul Riquet was a tax collector for Louis XIV, and as such build up a considerable fortune for himself as well. However, most of this money he spend to construct the Canal Du Midi, hoping to gain money from charging tolls upon its completion.

The canal was a masterpiece of both hydraulic and structural engineering, and took 12,000 labourers to build. The construction was started in 1667 and it was opened officially for barge as the Canal Royal de Languedoc on May 15, 1681. Unfortunally, Paul Riquet passed away a few months before this grand opening.

Riquet’s dream of reaching the Atlantic coastline only came true two centuries later…The canal was linked to the Canal du Garonne. The Canal Royal was renamed the Canal du Midi during the Revolution.

With Canal des Deux Mers cycling holidays, you can cycle on the marked cycleway from the elegant, historic wine city of Bordeaux to the “pink” town of Toulouse. You shall experience cycling in a very relaxed way along almost bicycle paths, through the magnificent south of France countryside. You can switch itineraries if you like to discover more a side than the other. If you’re a wine lover you can visit a chateau or an appellation mostly of the time during you cycle adventure! To be more confortable during your cycling tours, we can Bike hire or an E-bike as you prefer!


You want to know more about our Cycling holidays ? Here is the FAQ !

What is the Canal des deux Mers bike route?

The Canal des deux Mers greenway is a cycle route which starts in Royan on the Atlantic coast and ends in Sètes or Montpellier on the Mediterranean sea, which represents a long journey by bike of about 15 stages of 50 km on average. You can cycle a shorter section, such as from Royan to Bordeaux along the Gironde estuary (3 stages) or from Bordeaux to Toulouse (5 stages) or from Toulouse to Montpellier (7 to 8 stages).

What kind of terrain does a bike trip along the Canal des Deux Mers offer?

The stages along the Canal des Deux Mers are accessible to all, given the almost flat terrain (except for the departure from Royan and the slightly hilly section in Entre-Deux-Mers). The first part of this cycle route to Bordeaux (along the Gironde estuary and through the Médoc vineyards) follows small, quiet roads and cycle paths on pleasant white stabilised roads. The second part runs along the Canal Latéral de Garonne between Bordeaux and Toulouse and is entirely tarmac (80% on safe cycle paths). The final section, from Toulouse, runs largely along the Canal du Midi and has many stretches on unsealed towpaths.


Is the Canal des Deux Mers by bike suitable for families?

Apart from some fairly long cycling distances (more than 60 km), this cycle route is completely accessible to families, both in terms of accommodation (family rooms) and in terms of cycling equipment (trailer, follow-on bike, children’s bike are available if needed). In addition, this greenway is 80% safe (on its own track) over the entire distance.