Cycling with children, whether on their own or in a baby carrier or luggage trailer, can quickly become an expedition. It is not always easy to know where to go for a family cycling trip of a few hours or several days. We therefore recommend cycling routes to ensure that your trip with your children goes as smoothly as possible.
Obviously, when children do not have their own bike, the number of possible routes is higher. Even if riding in a trailer is not the most pleasant thing in the city, it is feasible, practical and accessible to the child who does not pedal and is therefore spared the dangers of the city. The ride is made easier if the child is placed in a baby carrier on the back of the bike. You can ride wherever you want. However, it is important to ensure that the child is protected from the sun and hydrated regularly in case of hot weather. The Canal des deux Mers is also mostly equipped, so access with a trailer is easy. In both cases, it is easy to stop and take a break.
In summary, for children without a bike, in town or out, over short or longer distances, the ride is fairly easy, provided you have the right equipment and are well organised. However, if you're going to be away for more than half a day or several days, a child's trailer is more comfortable. Find all our advice here and here.
When children are on bikes and independent, it's best to choose quiet, easily accessible paths. The city should be avoided, but the Canal du Midi is perfect for children. It may seem like a long and uninteresting journey for them, but in reality there are many sources of wonder. Discovering the locks, how they work and how they allow boats to pass through, or discovering the many boats along the canal can be of interest to children. It is also a quiet, flat and shady route that is very accessible to younger children. Routes in the countryside are also very pleasant for children, but you must be careful with the traffic and the sometimes very poor visibility. We therefore recommend the Garonne or Midi Canal for departures from Toulouse, Bordeaux, Narbonne, Béziers and Sète as these are the routes that will give you quick access to the peace and quiet outside the city while riding on a dedicated and safe track.
As far as distance is concerned, especially with children and if you are going for several days, train beforehand to test your endurance and theirs.
On the Canal du Midi, on a one-day trip, families leaving from Toulouse will generally go as far as Montgiscard before turning back, i.e. 24 kilometres to get there and therefore a 50-kilometre route. However, you can reach Deyme at 19 km and come back, but these are only approximations, the distance covered will depend on the age of the children, their training and the weather conditions. Another solution, which allows you to improvise according to the children's fatigue, is to cycle to the edge of the canal and return by train thanks to the stations along the canal. (Baziège, Villenouvelle, Villefranche-de-Lauragais...)
If you leave from another town where there is an agency, the principle is the same, plan a short trip to go and return or continue your walk until you feel tired and take the train.
From Toulouse, you can also take the Canal Latéral à la Garonne, leaving the hustle and bustle of Toulouse behind you and travelling to Saint-Jory, 18 kilometres from your starting point.
From Bordeaux on a day trip, you can go to Créon at 23 kilometres and return to your starting point.
From Royan, you can follow the paths of the Seudre and drive through the marsh to discover the oyster huts. A 40 kilometre day trip.
From Nantes, you can, for example, go to the Lac de Grand-Lieu, 16 kilometres away in the direction of Machecoul, to spend the day there and enjoy the activities on site, or go for a bike ride around the lake.
From Sète, you can go along the Thau lagoon for a day or decide to go around it in several days with an average of 33 kilometres per day.
These are only suggestions, it's up to you to find the route you want to do according to the endurance and age of your children. For a trip lasting several days, we recommend the same departure points, which in several days will allow you to reach other major cities or even to link the ends of the canal! You can, for example, leave from Bordeaux and go to Toulouse, leave from Toulouse and go to Narbonne or even do the Toulouse-Béziers Narbonne-Béziers, Toulouse-Sète or even Bordeaux-Sète route and for the most trained and motivated among you! In this case, find on our website, our itineraries (here) and on the blog all our ideas, tours and tips for your bike rides.
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