First Impressions: Biking The Canal du Midi

By Maggie LaCoste

We have finally found sun and warmth along the Canal du Mall fairness, the sun did finally appear in Saint-Emilion at sunset last night, but there was no warmth.  But today is a different story:  bright sunshine and warm temperatures.

I have heard many complaints about the condition of the paths along the Canal du Midi, and I am excited to be able to ride the route myself so that I can make recommendations to you.  As far as first impressions are concerned, I absolutely love it.  We are in Castlenaudary for the night, as understated of a perfect French town as you could ask for. Charming and oozing with character, this is a place that I could imagine staying for several days, just taking in the local activities.

View from my room.

View from my room.

Castlenaudary is the home of cassoulet, one of my favorite dishes.  The town is full of restaurants competing for tourist’s favor as the best cassoulet in town.  We had totally planned to try out one of the leading contenders tonight, but we ended up opting for a picnic dinner on our balcony overlooking the Canal du Midi and I am so glad that we did.

Our picnic dinner

Our picnic dinner

So let me tell you about my room.  We are staying at the Canal du Bassin, which sits right on the port.  We have this incredible room with a tiny terrace that overlooks the port and the town, it’s like something out of a travel book!  Oh, and did I tell you that the room is 65 Euro/night?  Unbelievable!  This has got to be the best deal in town.  The rooms are basic, clean and completely charming.

The Canal du Bassin in Castelnaudary

The Canal du Bassin in Castelnaudary

Tomorrow we head for Carcassonne, but for today, I am loving everything about Castlenaudary and the Canal du Midi.

The Streets of Castelnaudary

The Streets of Castelnaudary

Cassoulet for dinner?

Cassoulet for dinner?

Festival time in the Langiedoc

Festival time in the Languedoc

I will definitely plan to come back and spend more time exploring the small towns and villages around Castelnaudary.  This town is totally perfect!  And I just found out that there is music and dancing tonight around the town square, how fun is that?

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Posted by Maggie LACoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.