Ride the greatest routes in Southern France
Cycle the Canal des Deux Mers, ride the Mediterranean, explore the ViaRhôna or hit the Grande Traversée du Massif Central on your mountain bike: which of these 4 amazing routes will you choose? They may cover the whole of France and even run into Europe but they spend a lot of time in Occitania too. 160-500 km : you'll have bags of time to soak up our region's scenery, incredible heritage, great hospitality and warm Southern French sunshine to boot !
THE CANAL DES DEUX MERS BY BIKE
From Royan by the ocean in Sète to the Mediterranean shore, the V80 or Canal des Deux Mers green path covers almost 800km, 520 km of which are in Occitania. It runs along the Canal de Garonne towpath then the UNESCO World Heritage Canal du Midi.
Who's it for ? Hardened cycling tourists and novices alike will love how it's pretty much flat, keeps riders in the shade and brings them a variety of landscapes and settings.
Little villages, pretty towns, vineyards, canal structures, locks and floral marinas : most of the route takes you on a smooth ride on an equipped green path. South of Toulouse, after the Seuil de Naurouze, the path gets a little more rocky as it's under renovation.
Your main stops in Occitania : Moissac, Montech (Tarn-et-Garonne), Toulouse, Seuil de Naurouze (Haute-Garonne), Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, Le Somail (Aude), Béziers, Agde, Sète (Hérault). Recommended bike types : hybrid and mountain bikes.
The Canal des Deux Mers by bike route is peppered with places to stay, eat, hire bikes, Tourist Information centres and bike-friendly places to visit approved by Accueil Vélo. Recognition of hospitality and services with cyclists in mind.
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THE MEDITERRANEAN BY BIKE
EuroVélo 8 a.k.a. the Mediterranean Route is one of the longest bike paths in Europe. The EuroVélo 8 covers around 360 km in Occitania in the French section between the Pyrenees and the Alps : it delves into the Catalan side of the Pyrenees and hugs the shores of the Mediterranean in Occitania right up to the Camargue.
The route is made up of 40% bike paths and 60% quiet little roads. Feast your eyes on a series of mountains, forests, pine forests, beaches, lakes, marshes, canals and ports in Occitania. The cherry on the cake is the historical sites and outstanding monuments : Narbonne's archbishop's palace, the Oppidum in Ensérunes, Fonséranes Locks, Agde, Saint-Gilles Abbey and more.
RIDE ALONG THE RHÔNE
The ViaRhôna has big ideas : to take you from Lake Geneva to our Mediterranean coast. An 800 km adventure including 94 km in Occitania.
The ViaRhôna enters Occitania just before Beaucaire in the Gard. Then you switch between secure green paths and shared lanes up to the Sète beaches.
As you pedal you'll see the Camargue Gardoise and Languedoc's signature marshes and salt marshes with the Costières de Nîmes and Frontignan vineyards in the background. Stop off in places that ooze history such as Saint-Gilles Abbey, Aigues-Mortes ramparts and Maguelone Cathedral near Montpellier.
Your main stops in Occitania : Beaucaire, Saint-Gilles, Aigues-Mortes (Gard) Le Grau du Roi, La Grande Motte, Palavas-les-Flots, Sète (Hérault).
The ViaRhôna in Sète hooks up to the EuroVélo 8 which takes you to Béziers, the V80 (the Canal des Deux Mers by bike route) or leads you to Roussillon and Catalan country.
THE GRANDE TRAVERSÉE DU MASSIF CENTRAL MOUNTAIN BIKE ROUTE
This is a legendary route : the Grande Traversée du Massif Central (GTMC) crosses the Massif Central north to south. In total: 1380 km including 540 km in Occitania through jaw-dropping scenery, the great Morvan lakes up to Cap d’Agde lapped by the Mediterranean.
The fully-signposted GTMC is one of the longest mountain bike routes in France It covers 3 regions: Burgundy, Auvergne Rhône Alpes and Occitania where you'll see stunning natural areas such as the Gorges du Tarn, Cévennes National Park, Mont Aigoual, the UNESCO Causses and Cévennes as far as the Agde beaches.
Hardened explorers take around a month and a half to complete the entire route made up of bike paths, véloroutes and small roads. But anyone can ride part of the GTMC at their own pace for a few days.
"GTMC recommended" accommodation and services have been recognised for meeting the needs and requirements of mountain bikers.
Your main stops in Occitania : Saint-Chély d’Apcher, Bagnols-les-Bains, Le Pont de Monvert, Sainte-Enimie (Lozère), Le Vigan, La Couvertoirade (Aveyron), Lac du Salagou, Clermont-l’Hérault, Agde (Hérault).
The Grande Traversée du Massif Central, GTMC, is suitable for anyone. Some sections are more challenging than others so choose your route carefully before you set off. There's everything you need for riding it on an e-mountain bike: there's no faff on the route and it runs through several villages where you can recharge your batteries at places to stay and eat.
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- By car : Occitania has a large number of motorways (A9, A20, A61, A75, etc.).
- By plane : the region has several airports, including the international airports of Toulouse, Montpellier and Lourdes.
- By train : the region is accessible from all the major cities of France and the European capitals.