The Canal du Midi

More famous than its “little brother”, the Canal de Garonne canal, the Canal du Midi (by bike!) is a must for cycling holidays. Built in the 17th century in 15 years by Paul Riquet, this navigable waterway links the Mediterranean Sea in Toulouse over no less than 240 km and has been listed at the UNESCO World Heritage Site for many years as an architectural work. True technique of prowess, the Canal du Midi features 63 locks, 126 bridges, 55 aqueducts and 7 canal bridges. From few years, Unesco has also listed the landscapes of the Canal du Midi as a World Heritage Site.

Cycling the Canal du Midi

The greenway “Canal du Midi à Vélo” (Canal du Midi by bike) follows the old towpath along the canal. Contrary to the Canal de Garonne, the cycle path is not always paved. You will find many sections on dirt road or on a stabilized path. Keep an eye on the path as some plane tree roots may appear. These small constraints will not prevent you from enjoying the beauty of the landscapes crossed by the Hérault, Aude and Haute Garonne, in Occitanie.

The high points of a cycling holiday along the Canal du Midi

  1. Visit Toulouse, the pink city
  2. Stroll through the narrow streets of the cathar city of Carcassonne, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
  3. Cross the Lauragais countryside
  4. The vineyard landscapes of Languedoc
  5. The several works of art by Paul Riquet
  6. Tasting a good Cassoulet in Castelnaudary
  7. The 9 locks of Bézier
  8. An evening drink on the terrace of a bistro at Place de la Comédie in Montpellier

Carcassonne: A must do to visit during a cycling trip on the Canal du Midi.

You will see it emerge far away like a dream, placed like a crown on a hill in the middle of the vines. Carcassonne, with its 52 towers and its 3 km double wall, is the archetype of the medieval city as we imagine it across the world. Listed at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, it invites you to celebrate its 1000 years of military architecture.

Enter through the Narbonnaise gate, explore walking, the bustling city with its restaurants and shops, with a special visit in the count’s castle built in the 12th century, and in the Saint-Nazaire basilica.

Lose yourself in the narrow streets of the medieval city, climb to the top of the towers, admire the flamboyant stained-glass windows of the basilica… and have a break on a shaded terrace enjoying a drink…

The walk around the ramparts is also unforgettable. To the north, the Gallo-Roman ramparts and their horseshoe towers open onto a marvelous panorama of the Montagne Noire. To the west, walk on the medieval ramparts and admire the Lower Town and the Pyrenees.

The Canal du Midi by bike, an invitation to continue to the ocean!

The Canal du Midi is the first part of the famous greenway of the “Canal des Deux Mers à Vélo”. Also, after enjoying your first cycling holiday along the Canal du Midi, you can continue your trip on your next cycling tour along the Canal de Garonne from Toulouse to Bordeaux. If you feel like, you can even reach the Atlantic Ocean from Bordeaux along the Gironde estuary. The Canal des Deux Mers by bike will then have no secrets for you!

Your next cycling holiday?

Tempted by a cycling holiday? Contact your Evazio agency for more informations on our cycling trips along the Canal des deux Mers. Our team will help you define the most suitable circuit for your group.


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

What are the works not to be missed during a trip on the Canal du Midi by bike?

We quote here some remarkable places along the Canal du Midi

Toulouse : the Twin Bridges (bas-relief Lucas)

Toulouse : the Radoub basin (at the Demoiselles bridge)

Ayguesvives : the lock, the wash-house and the aqueduct

Negra lock : the inn, the stable and the chapel

Seuil de Naurouze : the octagonal basin and the weir, the rigole de la Plaine and the Obelisk

Castelnaudary : the Great Basin, the dry dock and the quadruple lock Saint-Roch

Caracassonne : the Foucaud watering place

Caracassonne : the bridge-bridge

Trèbes : the Orbiel bridge-canal (built in 1686 by Vauban)

La Redorte : the aqueduct of Argendouble and the stone spout (1693)

Paraza : the bridge-canal of Répudre (1676, the oldest, built by Riquet)

Le Somail : the port, the inn, the chapel and the ice tower (former “couchée” of the Canal)

Le Somail : the bridge-canal of Cesse and the “épanchoir des Patiasses

Colombiers : the tunnel of Malpas (1679)

Béziers : the 7 locks of Fontserannes (1697)

Béziers : the bridge-canal on Orb (1858, 240m long)

Vias : the Libron work (1857, removable bridge)

Can the Canal du Midi be cycled in both directions?

A bike trip along the Canal du Midi can be done from Montpellier to Toulouse or from Toulouse to Montpellier. However our route notes is written in the Montpellier to Toulouse way. Anyway, the maps and GPX tracks will be sent to you, whether you ride in one direction or the other.