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Travel guide
Aude

This agricultural department and labelled Cathar Country multiplies the attractions, the sea and the greenery, the Canal du Midi and the medieval fortified city of Carcassone, Narbonne and Castelnaudary, without forgetting the gastronomy of the Southwest. Go on the cassoulet route and the Aude wine route (Corbières, Minervois, Blanquette de Limoux...), seafood and local produce. Enjoy oysters and eels, beef from the Pyrenees, capon, pork and lamb from the Cathar country, fattened duck and beans from Castelnaudary, rice from the pond of Marseillette, sheep and goat cheeses, potatoes from the Sault region... And above all, take the time. For example, by discovering the Aude river from the Canal du Midi and the Robine. You will also enjoy the coastline, within the Narbonnaise Regional Natural Park in the Mediterranean, with the Corbières maritimes and its lagoons with pink flamingos and white stilts. Added to this is the picturesque Port-la-Nouvelle and Gruissan, the fishing ports.
In fact, each natural region of the Aude, and there are many of them, is marked by a particular landscape. In the lands, the scrubland and scrubland dominate the landscape of the dry areas of the Corbières. The Sault region is covered with beech and fir forests on the mountain floor. To the northwest, it is the Montagne Noire, land of the sheep. In the Lauragais, the cereal grove draws the hills. Finally and of course, in the heritage of the Aude, there are the castles and other Cathar sites, abbeys and villages of character.

What to see, what to do Aude?

When to go Aude ?

Aude is a tourist department with an important historical and cultural heritage and a wide variety of natural sites. Tourism is favoured by a large hotel park of all categories, available year-round. The variety of biotopes added to the richness of the built heritage allows for tourism in all four seasons and for all tastes. In summer, the seaside resort of Port-Leucate is full. Windy, it is appreciated by surfers. You can also swim at Narbonne Plage and Gruissan Plage, but also in the many lakes and rivers of the department. The coast also offers - but to avoid the summer when it is very hot to walk and where naturalistic observations are less interesting - the protected site of the Corbières maritimes and the lagoons crossed by nearly 200 km of paths divided into 30 loops, 10 heritage circuits, as well as 2 GR linking the villages. In the off-seasons the climate remains mild and there are fewer tourists

Throughout the year, the Aude schedules cultural or festive events. The carnival of Limoux, one of the longest in the world. It takes place every weekend from mid-January to the end of March, hosted by bands in costumes of Pierrot (the fecal ones) accompanied by musicians. In the Limoux region, the wine growers of Sieur d'Arques, organize Toques et clochers, their gastronomy festival, the weekend of Les Rameaux. Narbonne and Carcassonne are animated by many shows throughout the summer. Saint-Pierre (29 June), the fishermen's festival, is very lively in Leucate and Gruissan. In this last commune, Saint-Pierre is accompanied by a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame des Auzils. Another pilgrimage, that of Our Lady of Marceille (early October), in honour of the Virgin of Sunday. The Voix d'étoiles festival in Port-Leucate, an international festival of animated film voices, takes place at the end of October.

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Discover Aude

To immerse yourself in this department is to be immersed in history. It is to go back to the Roman era when Narbo Martius was the eldest daughter of Rome, and to come into contact with the long medieval period. The city of Carcassonne, the Cathar castles and the abbeys are the testimonies of this fabulous millenary period. While hiking or lounging under a parasol, from the coast to the Lauragais, from the Minervois to the Pyrenean foothills, the visitor will always receive warmth and courtesy. The savoir-vivre is also found in the ancestral gastronomy, with surprising and specifically local ingredients, both on the coast and in the hinterland. Along the Canal du Midi, the vineyards will beckon you to taste the nectars produced by these winegrowers who love their land. They too are part of a heritage rich in diversity, jealously preserved to ensure its continuity. The Aude has a thousand riches to delight you.

Pictures and images Aude

Le château de Saissac. Timbobaggins - Shutterstock.com
Château Auzias (Accès au chai). Dominique Auzias
Château de Peyrerpetuse. midgardson - stock.adobe.com
L'abbaye de Caunes-Minervois IRÈNE ALASTRUEY - AUTHOR'S IMAGE

The 12 keywords Aude

1. LIME BLANQUETTE

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There is mention in manuscripts of Benedictine monks from the Abbey of St-Hilaire, near Limoux, in 1531 of the making of a sparkling wine. This is how Blanquette de Limoux became the oldest sparkling wine in the world. The name blanquette comes from the white colouring under the leaves of the Mauzac grape variety which composes it

2. CARNAVAL

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Limoux has the longest carnival in the world, which takes place every Saturday and Sunday from January to April. Precise rules govern the three carnival outings of the day. The night of the Blanquette crowns the end of the festivities, burning in the public square, in popular jubilation, the theme float and its effigy of the carnival king.

3. CASSOULET

A highly codified local dish, based on white beans in sauce and meat, the pride of the Audois, whose origins date back to the 100 Years War. Legend has it that during a siege of Castelnaudary by the English, the inhabitants threatened by famine simmered everything they had to feed the soldiers, and this was the birth of this dish.

4. CATHAR CASTLES

The castles of the Cathar country, are 8 citadels built from the 12th century that proudly stand as sentinels. These fortified sites, also known as "eagle's nests", dominating the valleys on steep promontories, were ideal lookout posts, and had as their mission the defence of the southern border against the Crown of Aragon.

5. FESTIVALS

The Aude is full of festivals of all kinds, which take place throughout the year. Whether it is musical, cinematographic, theatrical, oenological, gastronomic, historical, heritage or even sporting... The mosaic of themes highlighted will inevitably find favor in your eyes, so eclectic and complete is the field of proposals.

6. OSTREICULTURE

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In the heart of a preserved nature between pond and sea, taste the seafood, shellfish, mussels and oysters of the producers from Leucate and Gruissan. Conviviality is the key word, while tasting the products of the oyster farms of the Aude region, including the "Caramoun", a special oyster from the oyster farmers of Leucate, with its rich flesh and exquisite taste.

7. ROMANITE

Narbo Martius, the original name of Narbonne, was founded in 118 BC. Originally it was an important trading port with an oppidum (fortified settlement) on the Domitian road (via Domitia), which went from being a simple Roman colony to the capital of a territory extending from Geneva to Toulouse. The city keeps traces of many Roman remains.

8. RUGBY

Rugby in the Aude is a religion! Born in the aristocratic milieu, it gradually spread to all social classes, until it became an anchor of identity. In this department, a "fratricidal war" took place between the supporters of XV rugby and those of the XIII game, which was more present in the western half of the department.

9. SOLEIL

Bathed in sunshine, the Aude is particularly prized for its climate and its light. It is said that the sun warms the hearts of the inhabitants with its rays, and embellishes the days as well as the heterogeneous landscapes that one discovers at the bend of this department. The coastline has no less than 300 days of sunshine per year!

10. UNESCO

Rich in history and heritage, the Aude has 2 sites listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the city of Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi. Today it is the series of the Citadelles of Vertigo (Lastours, Termes, Aguilar, Quéribus, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens and Montségur), built in the 13th century, which are candidates for a3rd classification

11. WIND

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Eole, master of the wind, can sometimes blow so hard on this territory, that the inhabitants of a neighbouring department have given the Audois the nickname of "Flat Head". The wind on the coastal part can reach 120 km/h and this, up to 270 days/year, be it the Cers, land wind, the Marin, sea wind, or episodically the Greek.

12. VINEYARDS

The vine that shapes the Aude landscape was introduced into the department in the 2nd century BC by the Romans. Today and for the last 3 centuries, it has been the main economic resource of the Aude. With its 9 AOC appellations, the quality of Aude wines is unanimously acclaimed, and they have established themselves as key players in the market.

You are from here, if...

You are called "Gabatch" by a Catalan, "Tête plate" by a Hérault native

You punctuate your sentences with an Occitan word such as " Magnac " or " Macarel ", and replace the words " coller " by " peguer ", and " bisou " by " poutou "

For you, the breakfast pastry is nothing more than a "chocolatine" and when you clean the floors you don't use a mop, but a "peel"

You consider that all departments beyond Occitania are in fact the North Pole!

You have been raised on duck confit, cassoulet from Castelnaudary and wines from the 9 Aude appellations.

The only bubbles you've known since your earliest childhood are not those of an American brown soda, but the emanations of Blanquette de Limoux.

You want to explain to the TV weather presenters that you don't live in the South-West, let alone the South-East, but in the SOUTH, quite simply, the meridian of Paris passing right through the centre of Carcassonne!

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