In mid-December we spent a night in Lalinde, a town on the Dordogne River east of Bergerac. As so often happens here in SW France, it turned out to be yet another charming medieval place, but this one has a canal that goes past it. The Lalinde Canal is a mere 15 km in length and was built in the mid 1800s to by pass a particularly rocky section of the Dordogne River. Today, there isn’t a lot of boat traffic but there is a lovely, paved towpath beside it on which to walk or ride a bike. Even in the dead of winter the charm of it all can put a smile on your face.
About a week later, we loaded our bikes into the car and once again drove past Marmande about five km to cycle the Canal de Garonne towpath. This one was also built in the 19th century to join up with the 17th century Canal de Midi, completing the Canal de Deux Mers from the Mediterranean near Beziers and the Atlantic at Bordeaux. Once again, it was a glorious place to be, even in the dead of winter.