Cycling France’s Canal des Deux Mers
Go to the blog: Cycling France’s Canal des Deux Mers
Listen to the podcast: Why I Bike: Ulrike Rodrigues I share stories about the trip with Jim Fullerton of Adventure Bike Touring (45 minutes)
I spent winter 2015 in a tiny medieval village called Lauzun, east of Bordeaux. I shared the stories and photos from that adventure in Cardbordeaux: Ignorance and bliss in the southwest of France.
In that time, my friends Sue and Ian brought me down to the Canal de Garonne for a day ride. They told me that, combined with the Canal du Midi,the Canal des Deux Mers (Canal of Two Seas) runs along the south edge of France. The 433-kilometre ribbon of water uses 118 locks to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the the Mediterranean Sea.
Intrigued, I packed my camping gear and returned to France to ride the canal in summer 2018.
Most days I pedalled a leisurely 20 or 30 kilometres and went as slowly as I could. But still, the beautiful ride ended too soon—I ran out of canal at the Mediterranean village of Sête!
A couple of EuroVelo routes
Fortunately, Europe is criss-crossed by the EuroVelo bike route network.
From the canal’s endpoint near Sête I joined the EuroVelo 8 Mediterranean Route east to the Rhône River, then turned north onto the EuroVelo 17 ViaRhôna route. I made the city of Avignon in Provence my turnaround point to catch a train back to Lauzun.
Along the way I took photos and wrote stories about the practical and fanciful: trail surface, campgrounds, weather, wine, pastries, cassoulet, cold beer, WarmShowers, and… sleeping with four men on a canal boat.