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Bordeaux and Toulouse

Beginning a 5 day 6 night bike ride in May in Bordeaux that follows the Garonne Canal and ends in Toulouse. We’d like to visit the prehistoric caves while in the area. We can reverse the ride if we choose. (start in Toulouse and end in Bordeaux) We’ll fly into Paris and train to either city. It seems like Bordeaux is a good starting point for caves first then bike ride. Your thoughts? Also, rather than fly into Paris, any recommendations for a different airport? We welcome any ideas about our visit to Toulouse and if it makes sense to you to travel to Carcassonne, Arles and Avignon. Thanks very much!

Posted by
9692 posts

I visited Carcassonne from Toulouse although I was on a tour.

Are you going to allow some time in Paris at the end? I would allow at minimum a night so you can get any return to the US Covid testing done. Who knows what the rule will be then. Right now it is within 1 day. Last October it was within 3 days.

The train to/from Toulouse goes thru Bordeaux. It takes about as long to do Toulouse-> Bordeaux as Bordeaux->Paris.

Posted by
58 posts

Thanks for the information. Was unaware the Covid test result has been shortened to one day. We got tests in Rennes last Sept then flew home out of Paris. Assuming if we bypass Paris for a smaller regional airport, we could still meet test requirements.

Posted by
11238 posts

I was in Carcassone/Toulouse in November.

If you go to Carcassone, don't do it as a day trip. I decided to spend the night inside the walls of the old city. I'm glad I did. During the day, Carcassone is crowded with tourists, groups, tacky souvenir shops, etc. But at night, you will have the city to yourself. The tacky stores are closed and you may wonder for a few blocks without seeing anyone. (I realize I was there off season and during Covid.)

I liked Toulouse. It is not on the radar of a lot of tourists so you see mostly locals going about their business. Great food, nice people, Lots of pedestrian areas.

Posted by
58 posts

Thank you for your observations and information. It’s very helpful!

Posted by
21050 posts

I also liked Toulouse. The pink-brick architecture is different from what you see in most other French cities. If you have time, I recommend a side trip to Albi. I was expecting to enjoy the cathedral but was surprised at how much I liked the Toulouse Lautrec Museum.

The Bordeaux/Albi area can be very hot in the summer. Even in May I'd want to make sure my hotel was air conditioned. Here are the actual, day-by-day temperature for May 2020 in Toulouse; May 2021 wasn't as hot: https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/france/toulouse/historic?month=5&year=2020

Posted by
58 posts

So appreciate your insights. Good to know about the heat in May! Yikes!