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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a cycling guide
Over the last two years my wife and I have used the first edition of this invaluable guide to help us enjoy cycling in the area of the Canal du Midi in the south of France. The book has been thoroughly researched and well written with excellent descriptions of the features of the towpath based cycle route from Toulouse to Sete in well paced stages along the canal. It's...
Published on 29 Mar. 2011 by tandempair

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A route in a book
This is a high quality book, but seems to be just a description of the route, which basically follows the canal path. Not much in the way of suggestions for accommodation or deviations from the path. Proabably a good idea, but not much better than a map.
Published on 12 Mar. 2011 by Rossicus


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a cycling guide, 29 Mar. 2011
Over the last two years my wife and I have used the first edition of this invaluable guide to help us enjoy cycling in the area of the Canal du Midi in the south of France. The book has been thoroughly researched and well written with excellent descriptions of the features of the towpath based cycle route from Toulouse to Sete in well paced stages along the canal. It's not difficult to follow a canal but the author provides clear simple maps showing features such as locks, supplies, places of interest and where to cross to the other bank. Complete and informative descriptions of the historical background to the canal, it's extensive and some unique water features and the interesting local villages and sights along the way are provided. Additionally canal linked cycling excursions varying from a few kms to a whole day trip are also detailed which visit villages and marshes providing architectural features and wildlife such as flamingos, otters and little and great egrets which can be seen.
There are 7 appendices providing useful lists of accommodation along the route (ranging from camping, a range of hotels and floating barges), intermediate distances, language glossary, repair shops, tourist offices, market days and further reading.
We found all the information in the guide to be up to date and accurate although the stretch from Agde to Sete has now changed dramatically where the only cyclable route has been dug up, but there are signs that it is going to be replaced by a super smooth cycle track. A note to this effect has been inserted in the second edition but I think it may be a year or two before the new route is available.
For anyone taking an interest in the Canal du Midi, whether you are a cyclist or not, this guide will provide fascinating and informative reading and is well worth carrying in your bar bag.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Declan certainly knows his stuff, 18 Dec. 2011
I am a real Francophile and manage to visit at least 3 times a year. This canal is another lovely part of a lovely country. So far I have only walked a small section of it in June this year, which kindled my interest in this guide. So I have not yet used it proper (next year hopefully). The guide is very detailed, describing changes in the path surface and its suitability for mountain or road bikes. It pinpoints all sorts of facilities from supermarkets, bed & breakfast stops, cafes & restaurants, even taps to replenish the bidon! This guide is not required to avoid getting lost (even I could follow the watery clues) so why buy a guide you may well ask? Well Watson, the guide is so detailed you can plan stopovers. It tells you where best to cross to the other bank for ease of passage. It also highlights nearby places of interest which you may choose to visit if you are not racing from A to B. And it keeps the interest kindled on long winter nights, away from soap operas and towards balmy summer days enjoying fresh air, sunshine, exercise, food, wine... Nurse! Quick, the medication! He's gone again!

My only complaint is petty and refers to the publisher. Cicerone guides have small pages, being designed to fit the pocket. However around 25-30% of each page is given over to blank margin so the print is forced to be quite small, not crumbly-friendly to those of us fighting the inevitable submission to spectacles!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cycling the Canal Du Midi: Across Southern France from Toulouse to Syte (Cicerone Guides), 29 Sept. 2011
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Dan Price (Tel Aviv, Israel) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed the book though unfortunately we have not made it to the Canal du Midi, yet! The book is a good size for taking along and full of useful information toplan the trip.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written Guide for Committed Cyclists, 26 July 2014
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An excellent book, but (like the companion walking book through the Cathar Region) focussed too much on the serious cyclist. or walker. There is a real gap in the market in Languedoc for cycling/walking guides aimed at people who want to park up (in the car!) and do a three or four hour circular walk or ride. No need for treating us like babies but a full day tour, particularly if it's not a round trip is a niche product for the hard core...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful and informative guide to the canal, 1 July 2014
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A very useful and informative guide to the canal, even, perhaps especially, for those taking a canal boat. An obvious competitor, which I bought and which is aimed at boat cruisers, is poor in comparison.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 31 Mar. 2014
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This book gave me exactly the information I wanted - I am now looking forward to my trip cycling alongside the Canal du Midi with [...]
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cycling the Canal du Midi, 20 Oct. 2013
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Martin P. Lam (London) - See all my reviews
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very useful, perfect size to carry at all times, up to date, plenty of detail, suitable for mere mortals as well as lycra cycling fanatics!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good guide, 3 Jun. 2013
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Describe the pitfalls and joys of this historic route through some of the interesting parts of France along a marvel of engineering construction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for the rider or walker., 30 Dec. 2012
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I bought this book as I was intending to walk the whole length of the Canal du Midi. I found it compact, usefull and a great companion to inform me of important points such as drink stations, village history etc.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful compact guide, 9 Oct. 2012
Used this when cycling the Canal du Midi in Sept 2012, as last stage in a trip that started in Brittany. Having a guide book is essential as this canal path is very poor compared with others in France especially the Nante-Brest canal. There is very little on route signing, and the guide book is quite right to describe substantial sections of the tow path as messy and difficult, due to tree roots, potholes and a general lack of attention. The author is clearly an enthusiast for the canal and knowledgable about its history and context. However we felt he could do more in the headline introduction to warn that, although flat, it is not an easy ride suitable for eg cycling novices or families with trailers.
The guide worked well for route planning with sufficient detail about the overall nature of the track, facilities in nearby towns, places of interest etc. It was fairly good for use en route, with details of when to cross to the other bank, warnings of particularly neglected patches etc, although these occasionally did not match the latest position. The accommodation list is not comprehensive, but a useful back up to online booking sites.
The maps are not at a great level of detail but are usable. The book interweaves the route on the canal and a number of excursions (which we did not try). These are differentiated by shading, but sometimes hard to pick out in a hurry. Appendices with cycling glossary in French and list of cycle shops were helpful.
We cycled west to east, which is the direction which the guide assumes. It would need more careful reading for the opposite direction, and the suggested diversion around Agde would be difficult to follow. (However this may no longer be needed.)
It was reassuring that Cicerone advise looking at their website for updates. However this was not very helpful in practice. In Sept 2012 the update was dated Nov 2011 and said that major changes (for the better) were being made to the Sete end of the route. These had been completed by the time we arrived, and reassurance on this would have been helpful.
The compact size of the book is helpful for touring, though a tradeoff against readibility on the move. As the guide recommends, buying an area map as well is sensible back up - particularly as works to remove diseased plane trees mean some temporary diversions, some of which were poorly signed.
In summary - if you really want to cycle this canal, a useful book to take. If you just want to cycle on a French canal, look elsewhere.
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