Cycling the Canal de Garonne, next to the Garonne River in southwest France

Cycling the Canal de Garonne

According to, “The Canal de Garonne, formerly known as Canal latéral à la Garonne, is a French canal dating from the 19th century.” It is the continuation of the Canal du Midi which flows between the Mediterranean Sea and the city of Toulouse. Together, the two canals form the Canal des Deux Mers which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

Sue told me that she and Ian had cycled the Canal du Midi two years ago, when they arrived in Europe. West of Marseilles, they discovered the flat, former tow-paths of the canal which carried them westwards into the small city of Marmande. Sue suggested we could cycle a “sampler section” of its sister route, the Canal de Garonne, after Christmas.

On Boxing Day, three of us loaded our bikes on the back of the Renault, drove to Marmande, parked next to a shuttered boat rental facility next to the canal, and set out.

We would pedal 10 kilometres westwards along the canal’s flat, paved former tow paths to the village of Meilhan-sur-Garonne, pause for a picnic snack at a canal lock house, and then pedal back to Marmande.

Map of the Canal du Midi and Canal de Garonne.
The location of the Canal de Garonne and Canal du Midi in southwestern France. The city of Bordeaux (not shown) is northwest of Castets-en-Dorthe, and Marseilles (not shown) is east of Sete.

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Writer, rider, traveller.

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