The Best Cycling Destinations along the Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi is an extremely popular cruise destination visited by thousands of tourists each every year. It meanders through countryside, wineries, beautiful landscapes, vast fields, historic towns and historic sites. In 1996, the 240 km long Canal du Midi was even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What could be better than taking a bike on a boat and exploring the surrounding sites of the Canal du Midi? In the morning, it will be your most useful means of transport to get your bread from the baker. As the weather is very often sunny between May and September on the Canal du Midi, the a bike will be your ideal companion. See our recommended itineraries on the Canal du Midi.

The Top Places to Cycle around the Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi


Hop on a bike and explore the city’s hidden corners! 

Did you know that Toulouse is also known as the "pink city" or "city of violets" because of its many pink brick houses and the production of violets? It is considered one of the most beautiful and attractive towns in the south of France. 

Explore the different districts of the city center where modernity and history come together. Sit in one of the charming cafes in small alleys, visit museums or discover many other cultural sites, such as the Basilique Saint-Sernin. The largest Romanesque church in France, this monumental jewel has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for centuries, welcoming pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

One of the symbols of Toulouse, this brick and stone basilica is an imposing sight. Majestic and luminous, it was built between the 11th and 14th centuries in honour of Saint Saturnin (or Sernin), the city's first bishop.  

If your Le Boat holiday on the Canal du Midi doesn’t involve going all the way to Toulouse, it’s a great idea to hop on a train for a day and visit, at either end of your holiday!

Le Grand Bassin Castelnaudary


Castelnaudary, home to a Le Boat base, is halfway between Toulouse and Carcassonne. Castelnaudary, is renowned for its Cassoulet, a regional dish made with white beans, pork and duck. Our tip: The delicatessen Maison Escudier, founded in 1920, specialises in cassoulet and is perfect for a short break after a bike ride.

There are many attractions  in the city, such as the Collegiate Church of Saint-Michel,  the Notre-Dame de la Pitié chapel built outside the city walls and the Cugarel windmill built in the 17th century. This mill is the only one still standing today (there used to be 32!) and well worth a visit .


To explore Castelnaudary further, why not follow a walking tour (or use it as a base for your cycling itinerary)?



The medieval castle of Carcassonne, also called the Cité de Carcassonne, is the one of the top 10 most visited tourist attractions in France. Not only by bike, but also during a walk along the ramparts, you can admire the magnificent landscape of the valley around Carcassonne. In the center of the city, you can take a break in one of the many restaurants or cafés in typical little squares. 


Discover all the things to do and see around Carcassonne



There is a lot to discover in the small village of Homps. How about a bike ride in one of the most beautiful places in France? Stroll the cobbled streets past the quaint houses of the centuries-old town center. Typical French restaurants as well as a great wine cellar  are also available for a pleasant break. The tranquility of this dream location and the breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape are unique, making this one not to miss!

Le Somail

Le Somail

Le Somail was once an important trading port and a stopover for passengers from Sète or Toulouse. Today Le Somail is a pretty little village with excellent restaurants and art studios. Literature lovers will be delighted with the antique bookshop Le Trouve Tout du Livre, which stocks over 50,000 books. From cheap paperbacks to rare collector's items, it’s the perfect place to stock up on holiday reading!

Good to know: this small, typically French village is inhabited during the winter months by only about 60 inhabitants. In summer, however, as soon as the canal attracts tourists, the place is reborn, with bistros and restaurants run by friendly owners, who will always welcome you to discover the local cuisine.



With a handful of restaurants, grocery stores, butchers, two bakeries and a café-bar, Argeliers is a great place to experience the culinary side of France and load up your bike with typical French food ingredients to stock up your boat.

The Fonseranes locks - Béziers

From Argeliers, you can continue on the Canal du Midi or turn south on the Canal de la Robine, which will take you to Narbonne and then to Port la Nouvelle.   

The ‘nine’ Fonsérannes locks  are the most astonishing piece of engineering that you will see while cycling (or holidaying) the Canal du Midi. At this point, the canal drops by 22m and joins the Orb River. This lock forms a water staircase for barges in the form of different leveling and although it is known as the nine locks of Fonsérannes there are nowonly eight locks in use. 

You will also see houses on the banks of the canal along with a church. These houses were used by the canal workers in the past .



Béziers is the capital of the wine industry and the birthplace of Pierre-Paul Riquet, the main builder of the Canal du Midi.

In the medieval streets, large markets and secluded parks you can feel the unique charm of this extraordinary city. The restaurant "Chez Jpetto" was voted the best pizzeria in France in 2015. Not to be missed!!

In the center of Béziers you will find places for a relaxing walk, such as the Plateau des Poètes, the largest garden in the city. In the heart of the old town is the Madeleine Market, a quaint building where you can buy local produce and cook delicious meals on your boat.



While cycling through the streets of Narbonne, you can feel the historical heritage in the old buildings located along the boulevard. The city is home to many vestiges of the past such as the Saint-Paul-Serge basilica and the magnificent cathedral of Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur. In the town centre, the old winding streets are truly fascinating. For lovers of good wine and good food, we recommend that you visit the wine cellar of the Palais des Vins, which offers a wide selection of wines from the south of Languedoc, a large selection of liqueurs from around the world and a wide selection of typical products from the south of France . Also don’t miss Les Halles de Narbonne (indoor market): one of the most beautiful markets in France!


At Port-la-Nouvelle, a bustling fishing port, the Canal de la Robine flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Here on the coast, you will find plenty of bars and a wide beach of fine golden sand. It's the perfect place for sunbathing or a trip with the whole family!

Untouched nature and colourful markets enchant visitors all year round. Take your time and enjoy the freshly caught seafood and fish at the restaurants along the coast. Swap your bike for a horse and explore the beauty of the region in a different way. The "Manade Jean Henri Ranch" offers accompanied horseback riding on the beach for beginners or advanced riders.

Canal du Midi

Other cruising regions for cycling

All our cruises lend themselves perfectly to bike rides on the towpaths. Discover cruises offering more adventurous bike tours. Discover here the ideal regions for bike rides.

4 best tips while cycling on the Canal du Midi

Bike rental

To cycle around the Canal du Midi, you may want to bring your own bicycle or add as an extra to your Le Boat booking. The benefit of hiring a compact bike from Le Boat is that, making sure they’re awaiting you at the base when you check-in for your boating holiday. Many customers take advantage of this to explore nearby places easily and conveniently.

Route planning

The Canal Du Midi is around 240km long, so you'll find plenty of places to enjoy a bike ride along the way, be it on the tow path or further into the villages, towns and countryside that surround it. So, plan effectively how much time you will dedicate to cycling and what time will be dedicated to other activities. When stopping in a town or village, it’s a good idea to head for the local tourist office to find out more about the cycling routes. They’ll be able to provide you with maps and useful information. And don’t forget to bring water!

Which type of bike should you use on the Canal du Midi?

Major cycling tracks around the Canal du Midi are in good condition and reasonably flat, but you’ll also come across graveled and earth paths. An all-road bike  will suit most rides you’ll want to do in the vicinity of the canal. 

Cycling holidays accommodation: make it a boating holiday!

Canal du Midi cycling holidays can be great combined with boating accommodation. Hire a boat on the Canal du Midi and explore the region at your own pace. You don’t even need a boating licence! 

Enjoy some boating and cycling along the Canal du Midi!