Languedoc. Even the name conjures up images of a relaxed pace of life, of great food, great wine and great company, all under the Mediterranean sun. When most of us think of Languedoc, it is of rural life in the hills, but we want to take you beyond that, we want you to explore everything Languedoc has to offer and even dip a toe into French Catalunya. Get on your bike and get exploring: Cycle Carcassonne to the Coast
Cycle Carcassonne to the Coast is a leisure cycling trip that takes you from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Carcassonne, down through the foothills of the Pyrenees to reach the glorious Languedoc coast. You will get to experience what this little corner of France has to offer, from the stunning countryside, delightful towns and villages, great food, world-class historical sites and a coastline that is not often visited, but entirely beautiful.
Distance: The full trip is 290km, averaging about 55km per day.
Grade: Moderate. While the days may seem long, the terrain is not too bad. As you will be cycling across the Pyrenean foothills, climbs and descents do come into play. You don’t have to be a pro, but do enjoy the challenge of some long climbs and sweeping descents.
The Languedoc is tucked away in the south-west corner of France, on the border with Spain. This trip starts in Carcassonne, near to Toulouse and travels down to the coast and then into the French part of Catalunya to soak in the beautiful coastline, home to quiet beaches and fantastic seafood.
Carcassonne is a massive draw and an impressive place to start your trip. From afar, it doesn’t look real, like a painted backdrop in a movie, but this medieval adventure story comes to life as soon as you step through the gates. Carcassonne is about the most perfect example of a medieval castle in the world and wondering around its street, nooks and crannies is a beautiful way to spend a day. You can walk on the ramparts and explore one of the keeps (for a small fee), and you can walk around the defensive space between the walls called Les Lices which gives you a great sense of just how much this castle was built to last.
From there you will head down the River Aude into the rural splendour of the Languedoc. You get to visit Limoux, the birthplace of sparkling wine and sample some of their delightful Crémant de Limoux. Then you spend days cycling out into the Pyrenees foothills, exploring tiny villages full of character and charm, tasting delicacies unique to the area and enjoying every second of it. There are optional rides that take you to visit a couple of the local Chateaux before heading down into French Catalunya.
This part of France is hidden away from tourists and showcases some beautiful coastlines. On your final night, you can also experience a Michelin star meal at your hotel. Sit on the stone terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, sipping a digestif and thinking back over the sights, sounds, tastes and experiences of the last week, with a belly full of the best food in the region. That alone is the reason why I would like to cycle there!
Cycle Carcassonne to the Coast is a pretty straightforward trip to get to. Carcassonne, Toulouse and Perpignan all have airports that are close to the start and end. All the towns are connected by good rail links so you can get there and back quite easily.
We have specialists who love all things French and know this trip inside out, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them with any questions you may have by emailing at [email protected]