Cycling from Toulouse to Limoux, Mirepoix and Foix via le canal du Midi

Six of us from Vancouver, Rod and Gail (the oldies at 71), Andy, Luke and Virginia, Dan and Natalie, decided to rent velos de ville from Philippe Sauvage for our self guided tour into the Arriege and Aude from Toulouse. All of us were reasonably fit and we knew the trip would involve some climbing, but we wanted to have energy left each day for sightseeing, so we tried to limit each day to less that 70 km.

Our trip began with a tour of the canals and waterways in Toulouse on a beautiful September day, and then we went south on the Canal du Midi to Villefranche de Lauragais where we sampled the local cassoulet at dinner in our hotel. The next day we followed the canal for a couple of hours and then climbed through the rolling hill to Mirepoix for lunch, and then on to Pamiers for the night. In the morning we made our way to Foix,and then on to Niaux where we explored the famous prehistoric caves, with some paintings 14,000 years old, before returning to our hotel, and a great meal in the shadow of the Chateau de Foix. The  following morning we got an early start and did the testing climb to the Chateau de Montsegur, the famous fortress where the Cathar “heretics” were massacred. We lunched at a local restaurant and then descended to the interesting town that time forgot, Chalabres. The meal there  in the Hotel de France, was a surprising treat in a quiet country town. Then it was on through the vineyards to Limoux and the famous walled City of Carcassonne. There were interesting stops en route to watch the vineyard owners scare away the birds with shotguns, and, of course, to sample the local wine. And after a night in Carcassonne and a visit to the famous walled city, back to Toulouse along the canal.

A great tour through some very interesting cycling country, with sparsely travelled roads and excellent food, wine and hospitality at every stop.