Cycling coast to coast
10 March 2016 - Harriet Bristow
Cycling coast to coast – Here’s why a cycling holiday from the French Atlantic coast to the shores of the Mediterranean will show you rural France at its best.
Scenery and culture to awaken the senses
1. Europe Active, the adventure cycling tours specialist offers a two-week long leisure cycling tour that covers the coast to coast route.
The long distance cycling holiday itinerary covers an array of French scenery and culture and is one of the best cycling holidays around. It takes in Lacanau – the surfers’ Mecca on the Atlantic coast - Bordeaux and its ‘Lac’, or Lake District, the medieval town of Sauveterre de Guyenne and the local vineyards - one of which you’ll be able to stay at, before the ‘canals of the two seas’, Toulouse and then the shores of the Med.
2. Sleeping beauty
Bordeaux is one of the towns you’ll arrive at on the early part of this route. It has had a great deal of restoration work carried out. Once referred to as ‘sleeping beauty’ – she has now awoken. And during this coast to coast cycling route, you’ll be able to stop off and appreciate its highlights like the c.1096 Cathédrale St-André and its Tour Pey-Berland – a 50m gothic belfry. Not to mention being best placed to enjoy the beautiful wines of the region!
3. Voulez-vous un peu de vin?
Speaking of wine, Europe-Active’s coast to coast tour will take you from Bordeaux to Sauveterre de Guyenne – and through the heart of this very special wine region. The route follows an old railway line and with many of the former station houses being transformed into small restaurants you can reward yourself with some locally produced food and wine.
4. Peace, tranquillity and….turtles!
One of the canals on this route is the Canal du Garonne - a peaceful and serene part of the trip and a real highlight of coast to coast cycling! You’ll be able to spot lots of wildlife along the tree-lined path– from herons to turtles. On your way to Toulouse you’ll pass beautiful orchards. Prunes and even kiwi fruits are in abundance here as are beautiful old towns and villages. The town of Agen is a particular highlight – home to the chasselas grape and the Abbey with its beautiful cloisters.
5. Steep yourself in history
Following the Canal du Garonne, you’ll travel along the Canal du Midi. This 241km long waterway paved the way for the Industrial Revolution and was seen as an engineering masterpiece. It is inscribed on UNESCO’s world heritage list. So, cycling Canal du Midi means you’ll again be steeped in history throughout your bicycle holidays. You’ll also meander through Mediterranean scenery as well as traveling through ancient villages and famous vineyards.
6. The ‘pink city’
Half way through your holiday with Europe-Active’s adventure cycling tours you will head towards Toulouse, Castelnaudary and Carcassonne. Toulouse – ‘the pink city’ - has been a world heritage site since 1996. It’s known as the pink city because of the pink stones used to build its houses. You’ll be able to stay here overnight – and can join the locals as they sip coffee at one of the many pavement cafes on the city’s main square, the Place du Capitole. And, it is here you’ll find one of France’s most famous opera venues – the Théâtre du Capitole
7. World heritage sites en-route
On Europe-Active’s cycling holidays along the canal, you’ll also explore Castelnaudary and then Carcassonne – the second town you’ll come across on this trip with world heritage credentials. In 1997, Carcassonne was awarded world heritage status for its Cite du Carcassonne – a restored medieval fortress. It is here you’ll be able to discover the legends of the Cathars. Europe Active also offers an extra day in Carcassone and an optional cycle to the Black Mountains to visit Chateaux de Lastours and a 1.2km long underground cave.
8. A dip in the Med
And what better way to end your trip than a dip in the Mediterranean sea at your final destination - Port-la-Nouvelle.
The coast to coast tour from Europe-Active is a unique experience and the only one of its kind. The two week long trip has been designed by in-house experts to make sure you can make the most of all region has to offer.
So, from beautiful scenery, superb wine, and plenty of opportunities to taste it, through to excellent food and fascinating cultural hotspots – Europe Active’s coast to coast tour of this region has it all. You can also do shorter trips in the same area – and cycle the Canal du Midi and the Canal du Garonne individually. Visit cycling.europe-active.co.uk for more information on these or other routes across Europe.
You can also visit our blog too for more cycling holiday tips and bike riding tips – including everything from what to pack for a long distance cycling holiday through to road cycling tips, bike safety tips and advice on choosing the right helmet and gloves.