Your Canal Du Midi Cycling Holidays Experts!
DURATION: 6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS | LEVEL: Easy to Medium. Must change trains either in Toulouse and/or Narbonne. A few hills after Bedarieux | CUSTOMIZABLE: YES | TYPE: BIKE HIRE ONLY
POPULAR BESPOKE OPTIONS
Extra day in Béziers to cycle to the beach.
Take train+bike from Bedarieux to Béziers for about 1 euro.
Get fitted to bikes and transfer luggage to our waterproof panniers and handlebar bag. Excess luggage can be stored by us until you come back. Cycle to train station 400 meters from our store and board train to Albi. Arrive in Albi in late afternoon.
Among the buildings of Albi is the Sainte Cécile cathedral, a masterpiece of the Southern Gothic style, built between the 13th and 15th centuries. It is characterised by a strong contrast between its austere, defensive exterior and its sumptuous interior decoration. The episcopal city, situated in the center of Albi, around the cathedral, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2010. The Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) dates from 1035 and Albi grew rich partially from the tolls it charged to cross this bridge. The bridge is still in use after almost a millennium. Later, in the 1200's the city prospered due to its manufacturing of pastel colors from the woad plant. Albi is the home of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. More than 1000 works, including the 31 famous posters, are held here. This body of work forms the largest public collection in the world devoted to Toulouse-Lautrec. Older than the Palais des Papes in Avignon, the Palais de la Berbie, formerly the Bishops' Palace of Albi, now the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, is one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in France. This imposing fortress was completed at the end of the 13th century.
Train+Bike Info: Take the train from Béziers to Albi. Price about 38 euros per person, with bike free. Reserve tickets ahead of time. Make sure you are on a TER train. If it says CAR that means bus, and it might not be possible to bring your bike. Avoid TGV as they may require you to put the bike into a bag (in order to keep the other passengers' luggage clean). TGV and Intercity also cost 10 euro per bike extra.
You will be cycling over an ancient railroad converted to a bike path running from Albi to Castres. The track is wel marked and passes through several villages. There are also water fountains along the path to refill your water bottles. The Tarn Department has many dovecotes, or large pigeon houses. They were a status symbol for the rich during the middle ages, and some measure up to 15 meters high. Along the way you will spot a few of these. You will cycle past the town of Lautrec, which is classified among “The Most Beautiful Villages in France” for its medieval site and superb architectural heritage. Lautrec is a good place to stop for lunch. This region is also the main production area of pink garlic. You will also pass through fields of sunflowers. The bike path is level and for large parts shaded.
Castres became an important stop on the international pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain because its abbey-church, built in the 9th century, was keeping the relics of Saint Vincent, the renowned martyr of Spain. Pierre de Fermat, a famous mathematician, lived in and is burried in Castres. Before you leave today, you will have time to visit the Musée Goya in Castres. It is one of the best museums in France, with a concentration on Spanish art including works by Goya and Picasso. Leaving Castres, you will be following small paved roads with little traffic today.
At Mazamet you join the brand new Voie Verte (bike path) called Passa Païs. This path is an old converted railroad. You will pass old trainstations, go over bridges, and pass through tunnels. The path is level and car free. You will have plenty of time to take breaks along the way. There are also several caves along the way. You might be able to spot menhirs, large stones placed vertically by humans between 3500 and 2000 BCE.
You are cycling through the Parc Naturel Du Haut Languedoc. The park is rich in flora and fauna, including owls, eagles, otters, the very rare European genet (a catlike mammal), and crawfish and trouts in its many streams. Many protected species live in the park. Along the way you will pass many natural wonders such as the thermal springs at Lamalou-Les-Bains, the stunning canyon of Gorges d'Heric (feel free to stop here and take a small hike), and caves. You will also pass through Olargues, voted one of "the most beautiful villages in France." In Olargeus, make sure to visit the Pont Du Diable. In St Pons you can visit the new museum of pre-history, located accross the street from a church founded in 936.
You will follow small paved roads through vineyards with little to no traffic. On the way you will pass through several small villages. There will be a few hills to climb along the way, especially the first 5 Km.
Day 1: Cycle from Béziers to Narbonne.
Day 2: Take train from Narbonne to Albi.
Benefits: Get used to bicycle without being too far from our home-base. Start by cycling along the Canal Du Midi, and see the aqueduct across the Orb River, the Nine Locks, and the Tunnel de Malpas. Get to visit Narbonne. Also no need to change trains in Narbonne since you will already be there.
Day 1: Arrival in Béziers. Take train+bike to Albi.
Day 2: Spend extra day in Albi.
Day 3: Continue with trip as outlined above.
Benefits: Get to explore Albi for a whole day.
Cycle distance from Mazamet to Bedarieux in one day. This route is flat, well marked, and unable to get lost on. So if you have cycled 75 Km in one day before, this might be a good option for you. However, the scenery is very beautiful, and it will be a pity really to race through it.
Optional: (not included)
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WHY TRAVEL WITH US?
Relax Bike Tours & Rentals
Allées Paul Riquet
Tel (France): 06 38 12 32 82
Tel (International): 00 33 6 38 12 32 82
Atout France n° IM034170006
Relax Bike Tours is a registered Travel Agency in France.
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Rent A Bike Canal du Midi : Toulouse - Castelnaudary - Carcassonne - Narbonne - Béziers - Agde - Sète
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WHY TRAVEL WITH US?