The Aude Department, spanning from the Mediterranean to the Pyrenees, is home to a great number of prestigious sites and landscapes. Surrounded by spectacular natural settings, in the heart of ancient vineyards, discover the châteaux and abbeys of Cathar Country, the medieval city of Carcassonne, and the coastal lagoons dotting the Regional Natural Park of Narbonne. Stroll in the shade of century-old trees along the Canal du Midi, and get a rush from nature with activities such as mountain biking, hiking, white water rafting and other water sports.
Five reasons to visit Aude
- The Cathar Trail (GR367): from Port-la-Nouvelle on the Mediterranean, to Foix in the Pyrenees, the Cathar Trail is a relaxing hike or mountain bike adventure that combines beautiful scenery with visits to historical Cathar citadels. For fans of trails and epic tales!
- The Canal du Midi Greenway is adapted to cyclists: these 240 km of traffic-free paths were developed along the Canal's old towpath and are safe for solo riders, couples and families.
- The resorts of Gruissan and Leucate along the Aude's Mediterranean coast are blessed by the prevailing winds, and known as some of the world's best windsurf, funboard and kitesurf destinations.
- Aude has six VTT FFC sites (mountain biking trails approved by the French Cycling Federation), in settings ranging from the Mediterranean to the Corbières, the Black Mountains to the Pyrenees. There are more than 70 circuits through all levels of terrain, as much for professional thrill seekers as for families out for the day.
- Thrills: canoeing, kayaking, rafting, white water swimming, canyoning... The Aude Department has a reservoir of white water rushing from the Pyrenees, which flows to the Aude plains and lagoons along the Mediterranean coastline. Beginners or those training for competition can explore narrow passes and gorges via well-researched circuits.
Haute-Garonne lies halfway between the Ocean and the Mediterranean, unveiling itself around the city of Toulouse. Here, the Canal du Midi flows between the two seas, while the Pyrenees, to the south, provide the perfect picture backdrop for Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, one of France's prettiest villages. Admire the ancient savoir-faire revealed in the marble work from Saint-Béat, in the hand-painted ceramics from Martres-Tolosane, and in the artistic furniture produced in Revel. And let yourself succumb to local gastronomy with a glass of Fronton AOP wine...
Five reasons to visit Garonne
- Via Garona: a 170 km-long family-friendly hiking trail along the Garonne, from Toulouse to Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges. It is labelled a Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle trail.
- #Canaldes2Mersavelo: a network of cycling trails that include the Canal du Midi Greenway and three other secure, sign-posted routes (the Canal de Garonne, the Rigole de la Plaine, and the Garonne).
- The Pyrenees, nature's incredible playground: hiking trails, numerous outdoor activities and even a relaxing, natural hammam dug into the rock in Luchon. An experience that's one-of-a-kind in Europe!
- Local, traditional mar
- kets: visit the one held in Revel on Saturday mornings, ranked one of the 100 most beautiful markets in France, or the covered market in Montbrun-Bocage on Sundays.Villages, walled towns, châteaux, mills and dovecotes line the small, country roads. Their uniqueness and similarity lies in the pink bricks used in their construction (Château de Laréole, the bastides of Montgeard and Saint-Félix, the mill in Cadours…).