Publié le : 01/11/2024 18:16:57
Catégories : Organise your cycling trip
Day 5: Puichéric > Pompertuzat (120 km)
Breakfast in the garden is as good as dinner, and it takes some determination to get out of this little paradise. The good news is that this is the most beautiful part of the Canal. The bad news was that the wind was still blowing in the wrong direction and Raph had his kneecaps in a knot.
The first 30 kilometres offered little comfort. The surface of the track that follows the Canal and the wind slow the pace. At Carcassonne, lunch was quickly eaten up. The remaining 100 kilometres were harder to swallow.
Fortunately, the route keeps its promises. Away from the traffic, we enjoy pedalling along the old Canal Royal du Languedoc and see for ourselves the ingenious system designed in the 17th century. The engineering structures along the way are impressive. Locks, crossings and canal bridges are feats of civil engineering. Here, man has skilfully managed to bend nature to his advantage. It was well worth a place on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The infrastructure that revolutionised river transport is now entirely dedicated to tourism, to the delight of those who discover it by bike, on foot or by barge.
Once past Castelnaudary, the route is resurfaced. After 5 hours of grinding away on gravel, we hit the asphalt ribbon with the feeling of sliding on a pool table. The smiles return in the shade of the plane trees. On either side of the track, vineyards and fields of sunflowers face each other. The setting sun gives the picture the most beautiful of summer hues.
As we approach Toulouse, the bridges are adorned with brickwork, heralding the arrival of the pink city. 240 kilometres of canal now separate us from Marseillan. Exhausted by this new day, we found a bed and breakfast a few kilometres from Toulouse and decided to spend part of the next day exploring France's fourth-largest city.
Paulette is a network of bike hire agencies. You can find us on the Canal de Nantes à Brest, the Loire à vélo, the Vélodyssée, the Canal latéral à la Garonne, the Méditerranée à vélo and the Canal du Midi in Brest, Tours, Nantes, Lyon, Paris, La Rochelle, Royan, Bordeaux, Sète, Béziers, Narbonne, Biarritz and Toulouse.