Revel / Castres La Véloccitanie
Canals & intimate rivers
1 h 55 min
I cycle often
Ride across the Lauragais’s plains from Revel to Castres, through an area recognized for its arts heritage and nicknamed the Pays de Cocagne (Land of Milk and Honey in French, the term also referring specifically to the lucrative cocagne shells of woad produced here and used in once highly-prized pastel blue dyeing). The fields are covered in sunflowers, wheat and poppies in early summer. You’re crossing the cereal-growing part of La Véloccitanie. Its mosaic of colours is reflected in Dom Robert’s tapestries at the abbey-school in Sorèze, in the painted galleries around the medieval covered market in the bastide town of Revel (hosting one of France’s finest markets) and in the colourful facades at Castres, a town nicknamed the Little Venice of the Haut-Languedoc. This last also boasts fine arts in its Musée Goya. The Montagne Noire, a major mountain on the horizon, its waters feeding the Canal du Midi, acts as a guiding presence as you ride along undulating little country roads peppered with villages. Enjoy the odd stop to rest and admire the landscapes and taste local dishes. Savour these moments and the colourful delights provided by this stage’s mix of agriculture and culture.
Elevation of the stage
310 m 280 m
Waytypes of the stage
Cycle path: 4,43 km By road: 27,38 km
Surface of the stage
Lisse: 28,31 km Rugueux: 3,50 km
La Véloccitanie from Revel to Castres
The route: greenway from Revel to Sorèze (along 4km), otherwise quiet country roads with little traffic and some hilly stretches. No particular difficulties.
Link: from Castres, you can continue towards Albi along the "voie verte des Droits de l'Homme". Don't miss the village of Lautrec (4 km), capital of pink garlic.
- Office de tourisme Aux Sources du canal du Midi - Bureau de Saint-Félix-Lauragais: open April to September - 05 62 18 96 99
Point information de Saint-Ferréol: open July and August
Bureau de Revel: open year-round - 05 34 66 67 68
- Office de tourisme Terre d'Autan-Montagne Noire - Bureau de Dourgne : 0 800 74 65 81
- Office de tourisme de Castres-Mazamet - Bureau de Castres : open year-round - 05 63 62 63 62
SNCF train services
- Castres station
- Saint-Ferréol: Lac de Saint-Ferréol, a reservoir created thanks to the construction in 1667 of the earliest dam in France to help supply a canal, the lake now offering swimming and hiking as well as water features to admire, with several waterfalls and a water jet; Le Réservoir, a museum in which to learn about the vast, ingenious creation of the Canal du Midi by Pierre-Paul Riquet.
- Revel: a defensive grid-plan bastide town founded in 1342, with a typically spacious central square overseen by a belfry, and with the galleries along the sides given colour thanks to the mix of brick, wood and stone. The medieval covered market, held up on 79 oak pillars, still hosts the weekly market, declared one of the 100 finest in France. Taste the hearty local dish, cassoulet, made with beans and meat in a rich sauce, as well as local Get 27 mint liqueur, and visit the many craft studios in town, some featuring wood-work, others woad-dyed creations.
- La Cité de Sorèze: the lanes of this Petite Cité still preserve much medieval architecture, including the majestic abbey-school, its roots going back to an 8th-century Benedictine foundation, the place transformed into a royal military school under Louis XVI and now serving as the setting for Dom Robert’s 20th-century tapestries; the glass museum; the oppidum of Berniquaut, a pre-Roman settlement, from where you can enjoy some of the finest views in the region; the Causse de Sorèze plateau with, a little further on, the Gouffre de Malamort (a dramatic gully with waterfall, protected as a Site Natura 2000).
- Dourgne: the Benedictine abbeys of En Calcat and Ste Scholastique, founded in 1890, where you can join in prayers.