Canal de Garonne by Bike: Sauveterre-de-Guyenne to Le Mas-d'Agenais

As of summer 2016, the planned bike route from Sauveterre to La Réole has not been completed. Until just before Loubens, follow the bike route towards Monsegur and Duras. This route will take you along minor roads, with the exception of one short stretch where you will need to ride along a somewhat busier road. From Loubens, use a series of country lanes that largely avoid traffic. You will, however, cross one major thoroughfare, and then ride the final 1 km along the main road into La Réole.

At the northeast corner of the square (where the bakery is located), turn right and follow the tree-lined street past the church.

Turn left on the main road (the D 670), then immediately right onto Rue des Ancien Combattants (waymarked as bike route to "Monsegur/Duras"). Continue through a residential neighborhood for 1.5 km to the end of this street. Turn right on a farm road (Au Bosquet) and follow it for 500m to the D 230.

If you've stayed overnight at CHMoulin de Saint Léger, there's no need to backtrack to the village. From the chambre d'hôte, turn left, then right at the intersection. You are now on the farm road I've just mentioned; follow it for 2.5 km to the D 230.

Turn left on the D 230, and after 400m, follow the D 129 (signposted "St Martin de L.") to the right. Follow the D 129 for 1.5 km.

A street branches off to the left (the C 6, signposted "St Martin du Puy", and also marked as the bike route to Monsegur and Duras). This route is more scenic, but slighly longer and hillier than the option of continuing straight on the D 129.

If you turn left here, you'll follow the C 6 farm road for 2 km, then turn right where it ends, and then take the second left (a narrow farm road flanked by a row of trees and signposted "Ferrand / Fenetaud"). Continue on this farm road for 4 km to the D 15. Turn right on the D 15. After 500m, turn left at the intersection, onto the D 21 (signposted "St. Sève"). (Do not continue on the D 15, even though the sign says "La Réole" — this is a route intended for cars and will take you to a dangerous road).

If you want to reach CHLa Lezardière, stay on the D 129 instead, and make a left turn after 4 km onto a street signposted "Gabouriaud."

If you stayed on the D 129, you will also reach the D 15 (after 4.5 km from the point where the scenic route forked off). Turn left on the D 15, then make a right turn onto the D 21 after 800m.

Follow the D 21 for 800m (do not follow the signposting for the bike route to Monsegur and Duras at this point — instead keep going straight).

If you want to reach CHLes Bardes, turn left on the D 21E8 (bike route to Monsegur/Duras), then turn right after 500m (signposted "Les Bardes")

After you cross the bridge across the river Dropt, make a right turn on the D 126E4 towards Loubens (Ignore the road sign for "D 21 / La Réole"). After 200m, you'll see a poorly paved lane with a "wrong way" sign climbing steeply on your left. Head up this lane (you're best off to push your bike for this short stretch). After 150m, veer left on a farm lane that passes through the hamlet of Loubens. (This shortcut saves you from continuing along the D 21 and D 126).

13 km Loubens

The farm lane leads to the main road of Loubens, the D 126.

If you want to reach the CHChâteau de Lavison, turn left on the D 126, then right at the next street, then right again on the D 21, to find the château on the right after less than 1 km.

Otherwise, turn right on the D 126 and follow it for 200m, past the mairie, then turn left at the next street (La Guitare). Follow this paved lane through the fields, and reach the D 129 after 1.3 km.

To reach CHAu Canton, turn left on the D 129, then take the next right on D 21, then the second left (follow signs).

Otherwise, cross the D 129 and continue straight on through a grove. The quiet road first dips, then climbs noticeably to crest a hill surrounded by fields. After 1.5 km, you'll come to the D 670. Carefully cross this road (traffic moves very fast here!) and continue straight on the bypass road (the D 670E12), which takes you to the D 9 after 1.5 km. Turn left on the D 9 and follow it for 1 km into La Réole.

5 km La Réole

To reach the center, turn left on the D 1113, the main street. 400m later, you'll reach a small square.

There are four chambres d'hôtes — three in the center of town, and another on the other side of the river, on the way to the Canal de Garonne.

For CHCapuc'inn La Réole and CHLes Galantes, make a sharp right at the entrance of the square and follow the narrow cobblestone street past the bar and the cinema; after 200m, turn left.

For CHLa Parenthèse, turn right at end of the square (There's a sign for the B&B), then left up the next street.

To continue, make a right on the street at the end of the square (the D 9E6, where you've turned if you went to La Parenthèse) and follow it down to the river — this is the Garonne, which you've crossed in Bordeaux.

If you want to reach the train station, turn left on the main road that runs along the river, and find it on the left after 200m.

Cross the road, then head across the bridge over the Garonne. Just as you leave the bridge, you'll find CHLe Relais du Rouergue on the right corner.

Turn left and follow the road for another 200m, then keep going straight onto a narrow street (where you see the statue of the Virgin Mary). Do not continue to the right along the D 9E6, even though it looks like a more direct way into Fontet — you would have to cross a major road, it's a much less scenic route, and not even a shorter one at that.

So instead, follow the street through the fields, pass under the D 9, and come to a fork 2 km later. To get to the village of Fontet, veer right and follow the farm lane, or, for a shorter way that bypasses the village, turn left and continue alongside the river. In either case, you'll reach the Canal de Garonne after a few hundred meters.

3 km Fontet

The farm lane takes you across the Canal de Garonne and up to the D 224, a quiet country road. To reach the chambre d'hôte, turn left, then take the next right at Lardon.

The Canal de Garonne will be your guide and companion for the next 185 km, assuming you'll continue all the way to Toulouse. The entire remaining route is a voie verte, a bike path on which you only very rarely will have to share the way with motorists.

If you are coming back to the Canal from Fontet, you'll need to follow the bike path towards the right, in the direction of Hure and Melhan-sur-Garonne (not Castets or Langon). At the next bridge, cross the Canal and continue along its north bank. This is also the point you'll reach if you bypassed the village.

After 400m, you'll reach the first of many locks, the Écluse de l’Auriole. These locks enable boats to make the (very gradual) ascent towards Toulouse.

As you bike along the Canal, you'll pass under three arched bridges. At the fourth bridge, cross to the south (right-hand) side of the Canal. After just over 1 km, you'll reach a small picnic area next to a more modern bridge. Up ahead, the road leads to Meilhan-sur-Garonne.

8 km Meilhan-sur-Garonne

Photo by VeloMidi

Meilhan-sur-Garonne is an attractive village, with an outdoor market every Wednesday in July and August. There are three B&Bs and a campsite. CHAu Jardin and the campsite are outside the village, on the north side of the Canal; cross the bridge, then turn left and follow the road.

To enter the village, stay on the south side and continue straight along the D 116 for 300m, then turn right and follow the D 116 into the center. There, you will find the other B&Bs on the right-hand side of the main street.

To continue without entering the village, cross the bridge to the north (left) side of the Canal, and follow the bike path. After 2 km, cross the D 116 at the Écluse des Gravières, and continue straight on.

To reach CHLa Houeyte, head straight on the D 116 (instead of the bike path), then take the first left.

After another 2.5 km, reach the D 3 at the Écluse des Bernès.

4 km Marcellus

The D 3 leads to Marcellus on the right, but if you want to enter the village, there is a faster and more cycle-friendly alternative later.

There are no accommodations in the village itself, but there is a B&B on the north side of the Canal. To reach it, turn left on the D 3 and immediately right on the D 148, which parallels the Canal. You'll find the B&B after 1.4 km on the left (You can't easily get onto the D 148 from the towpath as they are separated by an embankment).

Otherwise, cross the road and continue along the bike path. The path is very bumpy for the next 2 km, because the tree roots have pushed up the pavement. Pass under a bridge after 500m, then reach another bridge after 1 km. Use this second bridge to cross the Canal if you want to reach the village. Otherwise, continue on the bike path.

3.5 km later, cross the Canal at the Écluse de l’Avance. Continue on the bike path along the right (south) side.

After another 1.5 km, pass under the D 933.

Less than 1 km later, cross back to the left (north) side of the Canal.

After 1.3 km, pass under a bridge.

9 km Fourques-sur-Garonne

To enter the village, cross to the south side of the Canal, then turn left on the main street (chemin de la Vieille Eglise). After 350m, you'll find a B&B on the right-hand side.

There is also a picnic area (point relais) along the south side of the Canal.

Otherwise, continue along the bike path on the north side. After 2 km, pass the village of Caumont-sur-Garonne. You're briefly on the road here, then back again on the bike path. 5 km later, you'll reach the Écluse du Mas.

7 km Le Mas-d'Agenais

The village of Le Mas-d'Agenais is one of the oldest in the Lot-et-Garonne department, dating back to Roman times. In its 12th-century church, you can view Rembrandt's painting Christ on the Cross.

To enter the village, cross the Canal and head straight up the narrow street between two houses. The street curves to the left and climbs, and leads to the market square after 200m. Here, you'll find the market hall (Halle au Blé) and the church of Saint Vincent. Next to the church, you'll also find a popular B&B.

Although we researched this guide diligently, we make no guarantees as to its accuracy. All information is provided without warranty of any kind, and we assume no liability for any damages resulting from its use. Pricing is illustrative only and does not constitute a binding offer. Traffic, weather, and other unforeseen conditions may make the proposed routes impracticable. Please use caution and common sense, and always follow the rules of the road and local laws.