An exceptional cycle route, the Voie Verte du Canal des Deux-Mers is a traffic-free greenway which follows the Canal du Midi and the Canal Latéral de la Garonne and is open to all : families, children, serious cyclists and leisure cyclists
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800km of cycle routes from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean
Two waterways meet to form the Canal des Deux-Mers, linking Bordeaux, Toulouse and Sète, with a single continuous cycle route of 800km from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The two canals meet at the Bassin de l'Embouchure at Pont-Jumeaux in Toulouse.
A pioneering achievement, the Canal du Midi was considered in the 17th century as a miracle of skill and architecture. Its designer, Pierre-Paul Riquet (1604-1680), successfully convinced King Louis XIV and his minister, Colbert, of the importance of the project. Riquet funded the huge work from his personal fortune with help from the États du Languedoc, in order to boost trade and commerce particularly of wheat. Nowadays the transport of goods and the vessels which carried them during the heyday of the Canal du Midi have long disappeared. The barges of yesteryear have been replaced by pleasure boats which travel along the green water in search of tranquillity and protected from the weather, across the gentle Lauragais plain where the colours of the sky give it an air of French Tuscany.
Stop off at Port-Lauragais, near the village of Avignonet-Lauragais. This marina on the Canal du Midi built around a large basin has a harbourmaster’s office and a docking area for barges and pleasure boats passing through. Visitors can hire small houseboats without a boat permit as well as small electric boats for short trips along the canal. The Maison de la Haute-Garonne Visitor Centre has a super exhibition on the history of the Canal du Midi (free entry, fee-paying guided tour), a tourist information point and a shop selling local speciality foods and craft objects.
The Canal du Midi can be travelled along on foot, by bike or by boat.