If you don’t hop on the bike right away, fret not. All airports and major train stations have rental car agencies attached to them. The usual suspects are present in Languedoc: Europcar, Avis, Hertz, Sixt,
Bringing your bike on the train is not totally straightforward in France. Here’s a breakdown of the types of trains you’ll encounter in Languedoc and their current policies with regards to bicycles.
Bikes as they are, wheeled on.
TER- short distance trains. These are the ones you’ll probably use the most, if you are just getting around Languedoc. All TER trains allow bikes for free. No reservation necessary. Look right for what the modern TER looks like.
Corail-Intercité - these trains go farther with fewer stops, so have their advantages. Most of them take bikes for free, if there is a dedicated space for them. Check the schedule or ask at the counter to find out.
TGV (high-speed), Corail Lunéa(overnight), and Corail Téoz (long distance) have space for bikes, but it is necessary to pay when you book your ticket (10 euros). In addition, this reservation cannot be made online, so you have to do it at the station, at a SNCF boutique, or call them. A bit of a hassle in the internet age, so maybe they’ll fix this little problem soon
Bikes Dismantled and Bagged
Any train in France will accept a bicycle like this, if there is enough space. But in reality there is always enough space. Even on the most crowded TGVs you can find room to cram your bagged bike in. Not ideal, but it’ll get you where you want to go. No reservation necessary.
Buying Train Tickets
Anyone can buy tickets from the SNCF website. Tickets can be picked up at any train station in France, either at the ticket counter, or from the ticket machines (if you have a credit/debit card with a security chip). They will also send the tickets to you if you DON’T live in North America, Australia or New Zealand (and a few others).
Alternatively, if you live in the non-European countries above, you can buy your tickets online at RailEurope, a subsidiary of the SNCF, and exclusive retailer in certain countries, I guess. You pay a premium, though, so check your options carefully before pressing ‘Buy’!
Of course you can wait till you get here, but if it is summer or during French holidays, trains on popular routes can be booked out, and you may have a hard time reserving a space for your bike.
For more information on train travel in France (and anywhere else in the world), check out this excellent site