Home > Bordeaux to Toulouse Along the Canal de Garonne
There’s no better way to understand the heart of southern France than to cycle through it and feel the beat! This self-guided cycling tour begins in the cultural capital of Bordeaux and ends in the inviting metropolis of Toulouse, but that’s only part of the story. Between them, you’ll follow the spectacular Canal de Garonne, a lengthy 19th-century waterway and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, through quaint villages, blossoming countryside, and rows upon rows of highly cultivated vines. It’s a journey through both the traditionally rural and the fiercely industrial aspects of this fascinating French region.
Our seven-day itinerary is mostly flat as it skirts a level waterway, making it perfect for first-timers, leisure cyclists, and families with children. We have carefully selected some wonderful places to stay along the way and will transport your bags between each one, but otherwise, we’ll stay out of your way. Once you’ve picked up your bikes, maps, and information packs, you are free to enjoy this stunning route at your own pace.
This tour can also be done from Toulouse to Bordeaux.
For travel and cycling tips to Bordeaux, visit our "Travel and cycling tips" section.
Whether you’re arriving by air, land, or sea, Bordeaux offers a great first impression! Known simply as 'La Perle d'Aquitaine', the city's charms range from its historic Old Town to its winding Garonne River to the endless bottles of fine local wine. Arrive whenever you fancy on the first day, but make sure to reserve some time to explore the city. Your bikes, maps, and an info pack will be waiting for you at your centrally located hotel.
Depart Bordeaux this morning on a cycle track that runs alongside the Garonne River. Take in its beautiful landscaped quays, and then follow the greenway trail through the hillsides of Entre-Deux-Mers. Highlights along the route include the magnificent walled towns of Creon and Sauveterre-de-Guyenne. After passing through a stunning scene of vineyards, you will arrive in a possible final destination of Saint-Martin-de-Lerm — notable for its Romanesque 13th century church — although you might pedal on a little further to spend the night in either Camiran or Saint-Aignan.
Today marks the beginning of the Canal de Garonne and a day of cycling right beside it. Head to the time-honoured town of La Reole — worth a stop for its striking town hall, once a medieval priory — and the villages of Caudrot and Castets Dorthe, and on through a fine natural landscape of vineyards and wild green forests. You will have the option of either continuing straight or taking a loop around to Saint-Macaire, a pretty village famous for its ruins of an extensive 12th century fortification and Benedictine monastery. Whatever you choose, you’ll end the day — and spend the night — in one of two lovely communes, Noaillac or Saint-Marthe.
Your tour continues through the rich valley of the Garonne. The beautiful all-day route passes by a number of small towns including Fourques-sur-Garonne, Le Mas d'Agen, and Lagruere, but do not miss Buzet-sur-Baise and its spectacular chateau hidden in the fairytale-inspiring forest. End your ride in Serignac, quite possibly the prettiest town you’ll see today. One of the loveliest spots along the entire waterway, this tranquil settlement boasts an 11th-century castle and a number of churches and chapels to explore.
The fifth day of this self-guided tour is jam-packed with fascinating points of interest. Following a gentle stretch of cycling in the shade of plane trees, you’ll encounter the canal bridge on the Baïse, the aqueduct of Agen Auvillar, and the lake at Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave. There are also plenty of pretty towns to cycle through, including Bon Encontre, Lafox, and St. John Thurac. You will finish the day in Moissac, a town renowned for its medieval Saint-Pierre Abbey. Your accommodation for the night boasts spectacular views of the place where the rivers Garonne and Tarn meet.
This is, as they would say in horse racing, the home stretch – and it boasts quite a finish! If you didn’t have a chance the evening before, we would recommend a morning trek to the abbey in Moissac, but then it’s time to hop on your bike to Toulouse. There are plenty of reasons to take a break along the way – including the ‘water slope’ in Montechand the Church of St. Martin in Castelnaud'Estretefonds — but the sooner you can get to Toulouse, the better. Known as the ‘Pink City’ for the appearance of its clay-brick buildings at sunset, this distinct destination offers a wealth of museums and monuments, not to mention great restaurants and bars. It’s your last night of the tour, so it’s worth pushing the boat out!
After your hotel breakfast on the last day of the tour, it’s time to say goodbye, leaving with plenty of long-lasting memories.
6 nights' accommodation in 3-star hotels and guesthouses of charm
Note: A reverse itinerary (Toulouse to Bordeaux) is available on request.