As its name suggests, the Canal des Deux Mers connects two vast bodies of water, namely: the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. More exactly, the official route connects Royan, located north of the mouth of the Gironde estuary, to Sète, a port town located between the Thau lagoon and the Mediterranean.
This Canal des Deux Mers is in fact made up of two originally independent canals, the Canal du Midi and the Canal de la Garonne.
When it was created, it was named the Royal Canal du Languedoc. Then the French Revolution did its job. The canal is considered by many to be the biggest building site of the 17th century. And for good reason, the work carried out by Pierre-Paul Riquet under the reign of Louis XIV, lasted from 1666 to 1681. The commissioning of the canal revolutionized river transport and traffic in the South.
Today, the Canal du Midi is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is used exclusively for boaters and tourists. The towpaths are now reserved for walkers and cycle tourists. These improvised cycle paths allow you to travel the region completely away from cars.
Even though short portions lack maintenance and are difficult to cycle, especially after heavy rains, the bike route is mostly very pleasant.
In addition, from Toulouse to Sète, there are many tourist interests: gastronomy is essential. The towns and villages crossed offer a remarkable heritage, such as the medieval citadel of Carcassonne which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an incomparable atmosphere reigns there.
It came into being well after that of the Midi, in the 19th century. Completed in 1830 it is designed to transport raw materials to the heart of the industrial revolution. The Canal de la Garonne and the Canal du Midi have one city in common: Toulouse. The two fireworks are linked by a third canal: the Brienne canal. At the other end, the canal flows into the Garonne at the level of Castets-en-Dorthe, about fifty kilometers south of Bordeaux.
There too leisure and tourism took possession of the canal and its banks. The cycle paths along the canal are in much better condition than along the Canal du Midi. Newer, better maintained and less prone to bad weather, the towpaths guarantee comfortable cycling and make them an ideal destination for a family cycling trip.
From a tourist point of view there is a unique gastronomy with renowned vineyards. The heritage and the charm of the villages are also undeniable assets. Bordeaux by bike is quite a program. The wine capital of the world offers many activities, tours and outings.
If you are looking for information to carry out and prepare this route yourself, we invite you to consult the Cartovelo website. Its dedicated page on the Canal des 2 Mers à Vélo references maps and specialist guides to help you prepare for your cycling trip with complete peace of mind.