Bordeaux to Narbonne

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
tinacyclist
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Joined: 29 Jan 2015, 1:51pm

Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby tinacyclist » 29 Jan 2015, 1:56pm

Has anyone toured this route recently? All the stuff I can find online is a few years out of date. I am aware that the French are improving their routes and I wondered if this was one of them.

Updates on the state of the towpath along the Canal du Midi would be useful.

Also anyone got any favourite campsite to look out for?

Thanks,
Tina.

gplhl
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby gplhl » 30 Jan 2015, 4:37am

Hi Tina, I toured a lot of this last summer on my way to Africa, the route was pretty good, no problems other than some trees down after a storm. I'm sure they will be cleared now. Some of the route wouldn't be great on an out and out road bike but fine on any tourer.

The only bit I didn't ride was a detour I took toward Mazamet before heading back to Narbonne.

The route is wonderful.

Gary
www.longbikeride.co.uk

tinacyclist
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Joined: 29 Jan 2015, 1:51pm

Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby tinacyclist » 30 Jan 2015, 11:43am

Great stuff thats all I really needed to know.
We plan to use the route as our main trip and camp up and make detours off to the side will be using tourers so can handle a bit of rough stuff just full kit would be too much if the route is too 'rustic'. Found some very 'rustic' sustrans routes in Norfolk a few years ago - barely passable on a loaded tourer.

Cheers,
Tina.

Dweasle
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby Dweasle » 30 Jan 2015, 12:51pm

Hello Tina -

Annie and I cycle-camped from the UK to the Med last year, including the section you are asking about.

We kept a blog with references to the track and camp-sites, and if you want to have a look, the link is below.

We are sure you will have a great trip. Go for it!

Best wishes -

Brian & Annie

www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=Sh&doc_id=13782&v=Jc

bohrsatom
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby bohrsatom » 30 Jan 2015, 9:54pm

Last year we rode a stretch from Bordeaux to the med - although we avoided Narbonne we got as far as Lezignan-Corbieres which is quite close by.

The Canal de Garonne from Bordeaux to Toulouse is easily rideable although the outskirts of Toulouse are a bit confusing. A good map will make it easier but isn't essential.

The Midi from Toulouse to, I believe, Lauragais is rideable (tarmac) but we only went as far as Gardouch maybe 10km before Lauragais. It was suitable for 28c slicks and not at all lumpy. After that things take a turn for the worse. It will be slow going and uncomfortable even with wide tyres, especially with a touring load. You'll make much better progress on the roads IME.

If you're interested we covered it on days 1-11 of our Crazyguyblog: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=14010

The region is great for cycling and you'll have a fantastic time. The camping municipal at Carcassonne is definitely worth a visit!

manybikes
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby manybikes » 31 Jan 2015, 7:21pm

Capture3.JPG
I did it from the Med to the Atlantic 2013 and after heavy rain some of the track was very sticky. Although most of the time my full sus was overkill you can see why it made it more comfortable and inspired more confidence.
Image Attachments
Capture2.JPG

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bigjim
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby bigjim » 1 Feb 2015, 5:13pm

The Canal du Midi is nice if you want to tootle along on an MTB or big tyred hybrid. If you wish to make any progress, it's a waste of time. I've done it twice. I always end up getting off and riding on the road. The tree roots can be pretty bad and it gets very busy so you can end up stuck behind large slow groups. The D road running alongside is superb. Oh and I was on a tourer.
Nothing left to prove.

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DaveP
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby DaveP » 1 Feb 2015, 9:24pm

We did it about 3 years ago. From Toulouse it was tarmac initially, but as you loop round the lakes at Port Lauragais the tarmac ends. As I recall the compacted gravel surface was ok as far as Castelnaudary, but we encountered the roots before reaching Carcassonne, and they were roots indeed. I'm surprised we didn't break anything they were so exposed and so gnarled. After Carcassonne we used the roads instead! It was a bit tedious getting away from the town, but the rest of the way was fine. After Sallelle d'Aude the towpath route takes you across a semi disused railway bridge. The practice is apparently tolerated." If a train should come along it will wait for you" we were told. Be advised though, that once across the river you will have to descend a steep embankment - obviously not a ride, but possibly still a problem if heavily loaded.

I would recommend using as much towpath as you can bear. Its very restful with the trees and the cicadas, and the trees apparently are doomed. You wont see the like again.

FWIW we found Carcassonne a disappointment. The castle has been extensively reconstructed (and re imagined?) and you couldn't even appreciate that for the crowds and the overlay of souvenir shops. we would still have liked to tour the citadel but there were no English language tours on the day, and when we noticed the crowds moving in lockstep along the battlements we were glad we weren't up there. The overall feeling was "Fake!"
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...

goosegog
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby goosegog » 10 Mar 2015, 9:52pm

I cycled Carcassonne to Agde, I used the Cicerone book. I used the towpath to Trebes, as previous posts the towpath is rough due to tree roots it is also narrow more like a footpath. I then used the roads looking at the canal when possible, the section from Homps to Le Somail is pretty. I cycled the Canal de Robine as far as Salleles, I then went by road (there was no towpath or it was closed for repair?) to Narbonne.

BigH
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby BigH » 20 Mar 2015, 12:19pm

I cycled from the Atlantic to the Med near Narbonne in 2012 and the middle bit of our route followed the tarmac cycle path along the Garonne canal which we joined east of Langon having followed other off-road cycle routes down the coast to the west of Bordeaux. A good source of info about the area is http://www.af3v.org, a French site that shows all the long distance cycle routes and their state of development on a Carte Interactive -click the route on the map to get photos and route information. The canal side route was pleasant enough but the flatness became monotonous after a few days so we left the Garonne at Moissac (good campsite on an island in the river) west of Toulouse and took a northerly route via the hills around La Salvetat and St Pons with climbs up to about 1000 metres along quite forest roads. After the col at 634m south of St Pons there was a 30 km downhill via Aigues-Vives which was a highlight of the trip. I can recommend camping Les Floralys on the SE side of Narbonne off the D32 where it leaves Narbonne - quiet and shady with good food in their restaurant. We did camp by the Med past Gruissan but that was on an unpleasantly large and expensive site with rocky pitches and one of our cycle shorts were stolen overnight!

Dave33
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby Dave33 » 29 Mar 2015, 11:33am

bohrsatom wrote:Last year we rode a stretch from Bordeaux to the med - although we avoided Narbonne we got as far as Lezignan-Corbieres which is quite close by.

If you're interested we covered it on days 1-11 of our Crazyguyblog: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=14010

The region is great for cycling and you'll have a fantastic time. The camping municipal at Carcassonne is definitely worth a visit!

I followed this blog with great pleasure, good photos and fun comments all along, Bravo.

I live 10kms out of Bordeaux on the start of the dedicated cycle path Roger Lapébie Bordeaux to Sauveterre ; its the link path from Bordeaux to the start of the Garonne canal.
If anyone wants a pitch in the garden and hot shower on their way down (or up) on this path, send me private message

bikerwaser
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby bikerwaser » 29 Mar 2015, 2:01pm

HI Tina

As others have said the Canal Du Midi is a lovely ride although the towpath gets quite "rooty" and muddy on the Eastern section where i used the road which was lovely. I picked up a map from the TIC that showed the Canal Du Midi cycle route. it was great .
I went further south then Bordeaux to avoid the city and there were nice bike paths for miles. i met people that had gone through Bordeaux and they said it was very easy and nice.

my favorite campsite on the MIDI was at Meilhan sur Garonne which was Municipal(cheap and good) and had a gate keeper office where i could buy a few things use wifi and have a few beers. (it's day 21 of my blog below)

i also used the yellow michelin maps which had cycle paths on them but they are a little out of date. as stated above, i did find the TIC to be a good source of maps for cycling.

below is my blog and on it is a trip i did in 2013 from St Malo to Barcelona .

http://biker-waser.blogspot.co.uk/

enjoy !

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DaveP
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Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

Postby DaveP » 29 Mar 2015, 7:48pm

BigH wrote: After the col at 634m south of St Pons there was a 30 km downhill via Aigues-Vives which was a highlight of the trip.


Good Grief! We did this road in the opposite direction - if I'd realised that it was a 30km climb - I'd never have made it :D
Actually the ascent was quite manageable, and we enjoyed watching the vegetation change from something featuring very large cacti near Sallelles to something more familiar as we climbed.
The next morning though, St Pons to Lacaune - 6km push for the tandem as soon as we reached open countryside.... :D
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...