Crédit : © Dominique VIET - CRT Occitanie

Cycling in Occitanie and Pyrenees

From the Canal du Midi to the sunny Mediterranean coast, an adventure to discover the treasures of southern France

Discovering Occitanie by bike is an adventure that reveals all the beauty and diversity of this region in the south of France. Among its jewels, the Canal du Midi and the Canal de la Garonne offer emblematic itineraries for bucolic strolls. Carcassonne, Avignon and Nîmes reveal their cultural and historical secrets.

Discover Occitanie by bike

Grâce à la variété de ses paysages et à son relief changeant, l’Occitanie est une destination pouvant accueillir des voyageurs à vélo de tous niveaux. Si les chemins du canal du midi sont accessibles pour les familles et les novices, les pentes des cols des Pyrénées et les vallons de l’arrière pays du Languedoc et du Roussillon sont davantage destinés aux voyageurs à vélo plus chevronnés. Une chose est certaine, lors de votre voyage à vélo en Occitanie vous allez vous régaler. 

Thanks to the variety of its landscapes and its changing terrain, Occitanie is a destination that can accommodate bicycle travelers of all levels. If the paths of the Canal du Midi are accessible for families and novices, the slopes of the Pyrenees passes and the valleys of the hinterland of Languedoc and Roussillon are intended for more experienced bike travelers. One thing is certain, your cycling trip to Occitanie is something you will relish.

The region and its inhabitants

Located in the South of France, the Occitanie region exudes sun and warmth and calls for relaxation and joie de vivre. Its immediate proximity to Spain gives it a very southern and Latin tinge. Land of tradition, Occitanie is nonetheless a region of passage and immigration due to its geographical location, open to the Mediterranean basin.

The regional languages ​​of Occitan and Catalan (spoken in the Pyrenees Orientales) are still very widespread and are perpetuated from generation to generation.

We could not talk about Occitanie without mentioning its gastronomy. Sétoise fish soup, duck confit, foie gras, blood sausage, duck or even pountis (sweet & savory cake), and Lancaune ham without forgetting the cheese based dishes mainly in the Pyrenees. For your cycling trip in Occitanie, prepare your taste buds because Occitan gastronomy is really delicious.

Roads and bike paths in Occitanie

The Occitanie region is crossed by a EuroVelo road. It’s EuroVelo 8 that winds along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, from Cadiz in Spain to Athens, the Greek capital.

In addition, the Occitanie region welcomes many bicycle travelers each year on the Canal du Midi trail. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it links Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea. Along the canal, a greenway allows you to discover the varied and untamed landscapes of the Canal du Midi. Along the way, you will also discover sumptuous villages and the must-see site on the route: Carcassonne and its medieval fortress!

The greenway that runs along the Canal du Midi offers fairly flat routes accessible to all, while the small hilly and even mountainous roads are more suitable for experienced cyclists.

The weather in Occitanie

In Occitanie, the climate is mild in winter and hot in summer with temperatures regularly above 30°C. Except in the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean influence is felt all year round, even inland. On the coast, the wind can blow hard while in general, the fall has more rainfall and sometimes marked by thunderstorms. By bike, it’s great to travel to Occitanie from April to October with mostly mild weather during this period.

8 must-see sites in Occitanie

Lovers of heritage, nature or culture will find everything they are looking for during their cycling holiday in Occitanie. Here are 8 must-see sites in the region:

  • Toulouse, the pink city
  • Carcassonne, and its medieval citadel
  • The Canal du Midi, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The perched castles of the Cathar Country
  • The coast and the beaches of Languedoc and Roussillon
  • The Haut Languedoc Regional Natural Park which presents a unique mosaic of landscapes (mountains, forests, gorges, peat bogs, vines)
  • Agde, the black pearl of the Mediterranean founded by the Greeks
  • The mythical passes of the Pyrenees