Canal du Midi and Canal de Garonne luggage transfer

Published by Lyn on 21 October 2014

Scott (check out his restaurant guide for Orlando) emailed about luggage transfer for a canal ride in the south of France. Here's our email exchange.

Canal des Deux Mers

The voie verte du Canal des Deux Mers: the Canal de Garonne and the Canal du midi combine to take you from (near) the Atlantic Ocean to the Med. Photo: ADT82-Canal de Garonne 

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Bonjour

We are planning a self-guided cycling trip along the Canal du Midi in June of 2015. We are looking for a bicycle hire company that can also assist with luggage transfers. We found your site online and were wondering if you could help us with our plans or direct us to the proper source. We would like to travel from Toulouse to Cadillac. We are two adults.

Merci,
Scott

I wrote back:

Hi Scott

Thanks for the email - I hope you've found my site useful.

There are a number of companies working the Canal. See my Languedoc bike hire section. Wandeo does transfers, as do local specialists Relax Rentals.

Note there is currently work being done on the Canal that does affect the towpath in parts. However, Isabella from Relax Rentals (above) had this to say when I asked her about it:

"When there is a detour on the canal, generally, it is well indicated and you just go around and follow the arrows until they lead back to the canal.

"When people rent bikes from us, we provide them with a map that has alternate routes included – in case of work."
 
They have some additional tips here. I've got some tips here on my site  and also here. Plus this overview of the Canal du Midi (there are useful tips in the comments at the end as well, including accommodation options). See also our Canal du Midi accommodation recommendations.
 
I hope that helps - drop me a line back if I can help further.

Cheers
Lyn.

Scott wrote back:

Hi Lyn,

Thanks for your prompt and thorough reply. Apparently I had offered incorrect information in my original message. It isn’t the Canal du Midi that we are interested in but rather the route along the Garonne from Toulouse to Bordeaux (or just outside the city). Apparently this route isn’t as popular as the Canal du Midi, which, I now understand, runs from Toulouse in the direction opposite the way we’d like to travel. I think that’s why I’m having more difficulty finding the information I needed.

You’re more than welcome to include my query in your blog; I have my own website – perhaps one of your readers will have some more information.
 
Again, many thanks, and best wishes.
Scott.
 
PS And yes, your site is more than useful; it’s a treasure trove!
 
I wrote back:
 
Hi Scott
 
(Sorry – I missed the line about Toulouse to Cadillac in your origianal email; I should have noted the confusion!)
 
On my bike hire delivery pages, see O2 Cycles - they'll deliver to Bordeaux or Toulouse or vice versa and pick up at the other end (should be able to go to Cadillac). Ask them about baggage transfer (I'm not sure if they do this), but in general you'll find it much harder to find than on the Canal du Midi.
 
Try also Wandeo (see previous email) as they may be able to help with the luggage transfers as well if they come further west.
 
You may have to hire panniers or a trailer with your bikes if you have no luck with transfers.
 
Many people cycle the whole way one way from Bordeaux/Toulouse and then get the train back - there is a reliable and fast service between Toulouse and Bordeaux (see here for bikes and train info and here to book).


If you do end up starting in Bordeaux and then returning by train, try Bike Hire Direct, as they also deliver to Bordeaux.

This is a much less travelled route than the Midi but very much worthwhile. It's quite diverse and the towpaths and roads you'll be using are nearly all paved and in good condition. It is a bit hillier in parts though - not entirely flat as per the Midi. But it covers some beautiful terrain, passing through vineyards and countryside as well as following the water.

See our overview of the Canal de Garonne route. The excellent Roger Lapebie bike path links the actual Canal de Garonne to Bordeaux if you get that far. From Bordeaux it's possible to ride all the way to the coast to Lacanau.

I've embedded my Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees accommodation recommendations below.

Let me know if I can help further. I'd be interested to hear if you have any luck with the baggage transfers on this route.
 
If you have no luck with bike hire firms it may be worth a few random emails to tour companies – if your dates marry up with one of their tours they may be able to take your luggage for a surcharge if they're going that way anyway. Try La Ligne Verte, Cyclomundo, Belle France and Cycle Breaks (all listed in my tours section).
 
Cheers
Lyn.
Send your reader Q&As to me at [email protected] and I'll try and help if I can. I post Q&As on the blog so they can help other people too, though all contact info, full names etc are kept confidential. You can also post questions on our Facebook page to benefit from the collective wisdom of the Freewheeling France community.
 

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