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Canal du Midi

From Carcassonne to the Mediterranean
 
Discover exquisite Carcassonne, Roman towns, pretty villages and the region’s delicious wines on this self-guided hotel-to-hotel cycling holiday, with luggage transfers. Following trails alongside canals, olive groves and vineyards, your journey finishes by the glittering Mediterranean.
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday along the Canal du Midi

The southern region of Languedoc-Roussillon is famed for its balmy Mediterranean climate and the many excellent vineyards which thrive in the rolling countryside of pretty villages, historic churches and towering cypress trees. Independent for many centuries, the locals speak a distinctive Provençal patois and defend their and heritage with pride and passion. Cutting through this neat and productive landscape is another source of great pride, the incredible Canal du Midi, built by Pierre-Paul Riquet, Baron de Bonrepos, in the 17th century during the reign of King Louis XIV.
Explore the wide valley of the River Aude and sections of the Canal du Midi on this wonderful route that offers ample time to veer away into the low-lying hills and quiet valleys to discover medieval villages, Roman towns and picturesque olive groves. The route begins in the incredible walled city of Carcassonne and concludes by the glistening waters of the Mediterranean.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 10 12 14 17 20 24 28 27 25 20 14 11
    mm 63 65 64 67 68 51 29 46 58 81 61 76
  • Arrival in Carcassonne
    Night 1: at Hotel du Donjon et des Remparts (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of exploration.
  • Explore Carcassonne
    Spend your first day (without bikes) exploring the fairy-tale town of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's best-preserved medieval towns. Discover the Château Comtal; wander the narrow, medieval streets; or enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Canal du Midi (pay locally).
    The medieval ramparts of Carcassonne
  • Choice of routes from Carcassonne to Homps: 42km or 44km

    Carcassonne to Homps: 44km
    Your cycle ride begins through the grid-patterned streets of the newer (13th-century) part of Carcassonne to reach the Canal du Midi, whose towpath leads past ornate locks and bridges so typical of this grand waterway. Your destination is the port of Homps, where you stay two nights at the charming Le Jardin d’Homps.

    Alternative route along quiet lanes: 42km
    Whereas our primary route follows the Canal du Midi all the way to Homps, this alternative is a little more varied in terms of terrain. After around 15km, you leave the canal to pedal along tranquil country lanes via the quiet villages of Rustiques, Badens and Aigues-Vives, passing orchards and vineyards before rejoining the towpath for the final stretch into Homps.
    The Canal du Midi, en route from Carcassonne to Homps
    Carcassonne to Homps: 44km
    Wet weather option: 42km
  • Circular route from Homps: 52km
    This route is a real highlight – a challenging but hugely rewarding ride into the foothills of the Montagne Noire to reach the picturesque village of Minerve, where you can stop for lunch and admire the ancient walls and citadel. Then continue along the scenic Gorge de la Cesse before taking in views across the plain of the Aude and returning to your guesthouse for a well-deserved dip in the outdoor pool.
    Circular route from Homps: 52km
    The village of Minerve on the circular route from Homps
  • Homps to Cruzy: 41km
    Moving on from Homps, pass through a series of delightful ports – where you may wish to enjoy a wine tasting – and a lovely swimming spot on the River Cesse. You then leave the canal, heading up into the hills for sweeping views before a picturesque descent through vineyards with your destination, Cruzy, and its arched church tower set out below you. You stay at Le Clos Mazerolles.
    Homps to Cruzy: 41km
    The route from Homps to Cruzy
  • Cruzy to Narbonne: 27km
    Finishing with a section along the Canal de la Robine, an offshoot of the Canal du Midi, today's route is relatively short and flat, meaning that you have plenty of time to explore the fascinating Roman town of Narbonne on arrival. You spend your last two nights at the centrally located Hotel La Résidence.
    Cruzy to Narbonne: 27km
    The Canal de la Robine, on the route from Cruzy to Narbonne
  • Out-and-back route to Gruissan: 31km
    You may choose to spend your final day exploring Narbonne's Old Town on foot, taking in the magnificent 13th-century cathedral and ancient fortifications. However, we recommend you follow the cycle paths through the salt marshes and lagoons south of Narbonne to Gruissan, a bustling Mediterranean marina and port, whose narrow alleyways encircle the ruins of a 12th-century watchtower. The entire route is more or less on the flat.
    Gruissan, reached by cycle paths from Narbonne
 

Accommodation

Your accommodation is a mixture of welcoming hotels and guesthouses (see our page about chambres d’hôtes for more information).
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 04 April 2020 - 04 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    4 - 24 Apr 2020 £885 £385
    25 Apr - 21 May 2020 £965 £460
    22 May - 27 Jun 2020 £995 £485
    1 - 25 Sep 2020 £995 £485
    26 Sep - 24 Oct 2020 £925 £410
    3rd & 4th person discount -£100
    Single traveller supplement £100

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Electric bikes available: add £70 per person

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    7 nights: 04 April 2020 - 04 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    4 - 24 Apr 2020 £1120 £385
    25 Apr - 21 May 2020 £1210 £460
    22 May - 27 Jun 2020 £1245 £485
    1 - 25 Sep 2020 £1245 £485
    26 Sep - 24 Oct 2020 £1165 £410
    3rd & 4th person discount -£110
    Single traveller supplement £110

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Electric bikes available: add £70 per person
    Included travel: Out UK–Carcassonne via Paris (Eurostar/TGV/regional rail), approx duration 9h30. Pay locally for taxi from Carcassonne station (0h10). Home: Narbonne–UK via Paris (TGV/Eurostar), approx duration 9h & walk (0h10).
    > More about 'by rail' prices
    > The 'rail experience': what to expect

    If you book your holiday less than 6 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the same services at a supplement.

    7 nights: 04 April 2020 - 04 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    4 - 24 Apr 2020 £965 £385
    25 Apr - 21 May 2020 £1045 £460
    22 May - 27 Jun 2020 £1080 £485
    1 - 25 Sep 2020 £1080 £485
    26 Sep - 24 Oct 2020 £995 £410
    3rd & 4th person discount -£160
    Single traveller supplement £160

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    Electric bikes available: add £70 per person
    > More information about travelling self-drive

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outward travel on 3-5 & 10-12 April 2020, and for homeward travel on 12-13 April 2020. A supplement of £47 per car per single journey applies outward on Fridays & Saturdays 22-23 May & 10 July-15 August 2020 and homeward on Saturdays & Sundays 30-31 May & 18 July-30 August 2020.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel La Résidence, Narbonne
    Superior: 04 Apr - 31 May 2020 £12
    Superior: 01 Jun - 04 Jul 2020 £18
    Superior: 01 Sep - 30 Sep 2020 £18
    Superior: 01 Oct - 31 Oct 2020 £12

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike except at Hotel du Donjon et des Remparts. If you are upgrading to an e-bike, add a further £14pp per day.
    Hotel du Donjon et des Remparts, Carcassonne (B&B) Double room Single room
    04 Apr - 24 Apr 2020 £72 £124
    25 Apr - 04 Jul 2020 £96 £172
    01 Sep - 24 Sep 2020 £96 £172
    25 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £72 £124
    Le Jardin d’Homps, Homps (B&B) Double room Single room
    04 Apr - 30 Jun 2020 £72 £114
    01 Jul - 04 Jul 2020 £87 £145
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £72 £114
    Hotel La Résidence, Narbonne (B&B) Double room Single room
    04 Apr - 31 May 2020 £92 £154
    01 Jun - 04 Jul 2020 £102 £172
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2020 £102 £172
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2020 £92 £154
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Carcassonne, Béziers, Montpellier

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris or Barcelona.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Béziers Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Béziers Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Montpellier (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Montpellier (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Montpellier easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Béziers Ryanair 
    Luton - Montpellier easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Béziers Ryanair 
    Stansted - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Béziers Ryanair 
    Manchester - Carcassonne Ryanair 
    Manchester - Montpellier(via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Montpellier (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Montpellier (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris or Barcelona.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Béziers

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Béziers to Carcassonne (1h) £12 1630
    direct taxi Béziers airport to hotel (1h25) £112 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Béziers airport (0h45) £60 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Carcassonne

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Carcassonne airport to hotel (0h20) £12 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    rail Narbonne to Carcassonne (0h30) £14 1200
    direct taxi hotel to Carcassonne airport (0h45) £66 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Montpellier

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Montpellier to Carcassonne (1h25-1h45) £24 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    rail Narbonne to Montpellier (1h) £22 1130
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 1 dinner
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a comfort bike with 21 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; panniers/saddlebags; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock. Electric bikes are available as an upgrade (see price panel), subject to availability, and must be requested at the time of booking. The bike shop also has a limited number of tandems.
  • While we would always recommend that you take your own well-fitting helmet, they can be hired locally for a small fee. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hire a helmet.
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes.)
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • You do need to make sure you’re covered, because it’s you who is responsible for any damage to or loss of the bike during the holiday. You should always lock it (preferably to an immovable object) and remove any easy-to-steal accessories when leaving it unattended. The travel insurance policy that we offer covers you for loss and damage (provided you’ve locked or stored it appropriately). If you are arranging your own insurance, but it doesn’t cover bikes, we can provide bike-only cover. See the FAQs section of the main cycling holidays page for more details.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our travel insurance policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your alternative policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/before-you-travel and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC). You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them when the UK withdraws from the European Union (EU).

    It currently seems highly likely the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will take place on 31 January 2020, at which point the UK will enter a minimum 11-month transition period through to the end of December 2020. During this transition period there will be absolutely no changes to current arrangements for UK citizens travelling to an EU destination, so you can book your 2020 holiday certain that there will be no disruptions or complications caused by Brexit.
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 2/24/2020 5:55:43 AM