Canal du Midi by Bike: Carcassonne to La Redorte
To continue from Carcassonne, head towards the train station. Here, the bike path runs along the south side of the Canal (the side opposite from the station). Paved at first, the path turns to hard clay as you leave the city. After the Écluse de Saint-Jean, cross the D 118 and continue on the clay-and-gravel towpath.
Less than 1 km later, the path, along with the Canal, crosses over the
Fresquel, a tributary to the Aude river, and you reach the Écluse de Fresquel. Be careful as you descend along the double lock, the gravel here may be loose and could cause your bike to skid.
500m later, cross a quiet country lane. Although the path is still narrow, it is in better shape here, but watch out for bumps caused by exposed tree roots.
2 km later, you'll reach the Écluse de l'Evêque.
7 km Villedubert
To reach the village of Villedubert, cross the Canal at the Écluse de l'Evêque and take the street up to the D 201. Turn right and continue for less than 1 km. There's a cute B&B with great reviews, CHLa Gallinette. Stay on the D 201 through the village, but don't follow it where it turns left. Keep going straight — the B&B is the second property on the left, with a white picket fence on top of a low wall.
The H Hôtel Les Cabanes is in the middle of the countryside and offers stylish cabins surrounded by trees. To get there, take the same street up from the lock, but instead of heading towards the village, turn left, then take the gravel track on the right after 400m. Follow this track to a bend — the hotel is towards the right.
From the Écluse d'Evêque, a quiet country lane runs next to the bike trail, up until the following lock, the Écluse de Villedubert. Where the lane forks, veer to the left, even though you'll see a wooden barrier blocking the way. This is the bike trail, the barrier is just there to keep cars out. Dismount and go around it. The tarmacked lane turns to gravel, and is uneven in spots because of the tree roots. There's a farm track running alongside; it is on higher ground, so it doesn't have the same issues with roots, but it has lots of potholes.
Trèbes, you'll reach the Pont du Rode, a humpbacked stone bridge across the Canal that is often depicted in paintings. The country lane across it is the D 801. Continue straight ahead along the towpath, and shortly thereafter another pont-canal, this time over the Orbiel, another tributary to the Aude river. The path takes you right into the small town of Trèbes.
5 km Trèbes
Trèbes is a pictureque little town nestled between the Canal and the river Aude. There's a small harbor, and a handful of canal-side cafés. In the town itself, there are two rooms at the CHRiverside Home Cottage, which overlooks the Aude.
About 4 km farther along the trail, a farmhouse at the hamlet of
Millepetit offers two apartments — a beautifully restored rustic two-bedroom, and a more modern studio. The 2BR rents on weekly basis during high season, but is available nightly during the off-season. The studio can be booked on a nightly basis year-round. The owner speaks English.
There are also two chambres d'hôtes in
Badens, 3 km from the Canal.
Badens is a village surrounded by fields and vineyards, 3 km from the Canal. Reach it from Trèbes via the D 206, a small road that passes through Rustiques. Or, for a longer, but more picturesque approach, follow the Canal and cross it at Millegrand (see below).
If you don't want to backtrack to
Millegrand, you can head directly to Marseillette by following the
Chemin de Marseillette through the fields. It leads you to the D 57 — turn right and follow it to the Canal (careful at the D 610), and rejoin the bike path on the opposite side.
Leave Trèbes via a paved lane along the Canal, which passes the Écluse de Trèbes, where it becomes an unpaved farm track. You'll pass by a narrow canal bridge after 1.5 km, then a near-identical one after another 1.5 km. Cross this second bridge if you want to reach Millepetit. 1 km farther along lies the hamlet's big brother, Millegrand, also accessible via a small bridge. No accommodations here, but if you want to go to Badens, cross the Canal here and head north for 3 km along a paved farm lane, which crosses the D 610 but otherwise keeps you away from roads.
Continue for 4 km along a wide gravel path. At the entrance of Marseillette, cross the D 610.
9 km Marseillette
Marseillette is a sleepy canal village, surrounded by rice fields and apple orchards. Its relaxing setting makes it a perfect overnight stop. There are two hotels and two chambres d'hotes, and a cottage on a farm (3 km farther along the route).
The H Hôtel Ô Fil de L'ô is next to the Canal (Its name is a wordplay on au fil de l'eau, "on the water's edge"). To reach it, cross the main road (D 610) and continue along the Canal. Just before the bridge at the Écluse de Marseillette, take an unpaved track to the back of the hotel (If this path is blocked, you can also take the
chemin de l'Etang back to the road, and find the main entrance 300m on the left).
For the other accommodations, turn right on the D 610, and then immediately turn right again to follow the D 57. Just 50m later, you'll see a paved lane, lined with trees, on the right. This is the entrance to the CHDomaine de l'Horto.
As you continue on the D 57, across the river
Aude, you'll see another small road on the right, the D 457. Turn right here for CHLe Relais Occitan. Where the D 457 curves left, keep going straight.
H Hôtel Le Top du Roulier is another 2 km farther in the village of Capendu. Continue on the D 57 and turn left at a farm house, to follow a paved lane that meanders through the fields. The lane takes you to the back of the hotel (It's a semi-circular building, covered with ivy).
The chambres d'hotes don't serve dinner, but both of the hotels have restaurants.
To continue from Marseillette, cross to the north side of the Canal at the Écluse de Marseillette.
To get to the CHGite Sainte-Marie, follow the paved lane that leads away from the Canal. Ignore the various farm tracks that branch off, and look for a sign on the right after 2.5 km. You won't need to backtrack; you can continue on a paved lane, and turn right after a hamlet to rejoin the Canal path at the Écluse de Saint-Martin.
The towpath on this section is mostly gravel, with some stretches of unpaved farm track. From the
Écluse de Marseillette, it's 3 km to the Écluse de Fontfile, then another 1 km to the Écluse de Saint-Martin.
5 km Blomac
Blomac lies among fields and vineyards just south of the Canal. To reach the village, cross the Canal at the Écluse de Saint-Martin, then cross the D 610 and follow the D 357 south for another 1 km.
Both of its chambres d'hôtes have great reviews.
Otherwise, continue on the towpath. The path deteriorates here, becoming rougher and narrower. At the Écluse de l'Aiguelle, cross the bridge to the south side of the Canal. After 1.5 km, you'll pass by a narrow stone bridge.
4 km Puicheric
Puicheric is an atmospheric village with a cool château where you can spend the night. You reach it by following the paved lane that heads south (away from the Canal) less than 50m after the bridge. Just head towards the church tower; the buildings clustered around it belong to the château.
From this point, the towpath is, shall we say, adventurous. A narrow trail runs along the Canal, paralleled by a slightly elevated dirt track. The trail is crisscrossed by roots, and the track is riddled with potholes. If either is in really bad shape after heavy rain, another option is to cross the bridge and follow a paved farm lane on the north side of the Canal. Where it bends and heads straight north, turn right onto another lane that roughly parallels the Canal. At the intersection 200m later, turn left or head straight to keep going to La Redorte, or turn right to return to the Canal. The alternative route will fork several times, but all of the branches will lead into the village — just keep heading northeast.
If you continue on the official route, the towpath on the south side, you'll pass by another bridge 1 km later, where you can cross over to use the alternative route.
After 3 km, the towpath leads to a road, the D 72.
4 km La Redorte
La Redorte lies in the heart of the Minervois wine region. To reach the center of the village, cross the bridge to the north side and continue on the D 72 for 300m. Turn left on the D 11 for the château or the chambre d'hotes.
To get to Castelnau-d'Aude, instead of crossing the bridge, follow the D 72 in the opposite direction. You'll cross the D 610 (careful here!), and then the River Aude. Veer right to stay on the D 72 for another 1 km.
Set at the foot of the Montagne Noire, the "Black Mountains,"
Azille is another beautiful village well worth visiting.
The village holds an open-air market every Friday, and an annual festival (the Féria) around May 1st, which attracts over 30,000 visitors.
To reach Azille, take the D 72 into La Redorte. You can either turn left on the D 11 and pick up the D 72 again after the next block, or keep going straight and follow a farm road that is patchy in spots, but virtually free of traffic, until it merges into the D 72. Either way, you will reach Azille 3.5 km later.
There are 3 B&Bs in the center of the village.
Rather than backtrack to La Redorte, you can take the D 606 towards
Homps and arrive back on the Canal 3.5 km later.
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.