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The main towns to explore en route

Discover the numerous vibrant towns dotted along the Canal des 2 Mers à Vélo cycle route. They offer countless opportunities for you to appreciate the variety of authentic local city culture along the way as you enjoy their relaxing, convivial atmospheres.

Royan, symbol of 1950s town planning and seaside pleasures

dicover royan and its villas Bombardments in 1945 left Royan 85% destroyed, but after the war, the seaside town became a ‘laboratory for research into town planning’. Great architects like Le Corbusier and Niemeyer helped rebuild the town in modern style. The seafront, its cycle track and La Grande Conche Beach, the church of Notre-Dame by Guillaume Gillet (1955/1958), the central market and the station all contributed to making Royan the most ‘50s’ town in France. Since 2010, it has been recognized for its cultural riches as a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire.

 

Bordeaux, wine capital of the world

Bordeaux wine capital of the worldWorld wine capital, the city of Bordeaux looks resplendent in its 18th-century grandeur. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2007. Among highlights, see the Grand Théâtre, Place de la Bourse and its ‘water mirrors’, and the picturesque quarters of Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul and Saint-Michel. As to the Musée d’Art Contemporain, it occupies a former colonial warehouse in the Quartier des Chartrons, famed for its wine houses. The grand quays beside the Garonne River offer a splendid 3km cycling trip through town.

 

Agen and its canal-bridge

Visit agen Agen is proudly celebrated in France as the country’s prune capital! The town straddles the Garonne. Exploring its winding medieval streets and elegant boulevards, unearth history going back 2,000 years, via St Caprais Cathedral, Rue des Cornières, the Musée des Beaux Arts (its art collections occupying four Renaissance houses) and Les Jacobins Church… not forgetting the splendid canal-bridge over the Garonne – with four locks and 23 stone arches, it’s the second-longest canal-bridge in France, after that over the Loire at Briare.

 

Montauban

The square of MontaubanA town that has produced many leading cultural figures, including Ingres, Bourdelle, Olympe de Gouges and Roland Giraud, Montauban invites you on an artistic journey. This pink-brick city has been designated a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire thanks to its many architectural gems, notably Place Nationale (a square with double rows of arches), the 14th-century bridge, the Ingres Museum and many fine mansions… Note that it’s just a short cycle trip up from the Canal de Garonne to Montauban via the Canal de Montech.

 

Toulouse, nicknamed The Pink City

a cycling tour in the city center of ToulouseToulouse stands midway between France’s Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, not far north of the Pyrenean foothills. Capital of the Midi-Pyrénées Region, the 4th largest town in France is an unmissable place. Nicknamed ‘The Pink City’, due to the colour of the predominant bricks, Toulouse has a marked southern European feel and charm.

Visitors can enjoy exploring the city’s historic streets on foot or by bike and discovering the place’s many architectural treasures. These include: the mighty town hall, Le Capitole, overseeing a huge café-lined square marked by an Occitan cross; St Sernin Basilica; and Les Jacobins, a profoundly significant former monastery now home to cultural events.

The Garonne’s riverbanks, the Canal de Brienne and, of course, the Canal du Midi, offer visitors particularly lovely green routes through the city.

 

Carcassonne and its citadel

Carcassonne and its citadelCarcassonne’s spectacular walled medieval citadel is protected by no less than 52 towers. The town below has plenty of history too, founded in the 12th century. Here, see how the Canal du Midi progresses through the Aude Valley up to the Fresquel Aqueduct – this early 19th-century canal-bridge with its three arches has the advantage of allowing both the canal and a road to cross the Fresquel River side by side.