Aude – Department 11
Aude is a department defined by it’s wine production, diverse landscapes and traditions. In fact it’s the most difficult of departments to sum up in a short paragraph. So I’ve broken it down into bite size pieces to make it a bit easier to understand.
If you take Carcassonne as a reference point and head north you’ll arrive at the imposing Black Mountains which form the southern border of the Massif Central. This is a stunning area full of spectactular scenery, with the foothills being dominated by Minervois wine production. Head east and you’ll go through Corbieres country and onto the Mediterranean coast. The coast itself is quite a mixed bag with some of the best worst beaches in the Languedoc but it’s a large coastline, so there really is something for everyone. To the west of Carcassonne you’ll notice the terrain becomes more gentle with undulating hills. This change in landscape also means that the there’s a farming shift from vines to field upon field of sunflowers and rapeseed, painting the countryside glorious shades of yellow throughout the summer months.
It’s also worth noting the climate of the Aude. Due to it’s diverse landscape there are little eco climates going on depending on where you are in the department.
Overall it’s a typical Mediterranean region, with the summer being hot and dry. However, in the north of the department you will find the temperature dropping very low in the winter months. In the west, the Aquitaine influence means there’s more rainfall, whilst in the east the climate is purely Mediterranean. In addition, around Carcassonne it can get very windy, in fact Aude is one of the windiest French departments.
Traditions and Rituals
I cannot talk about the Aude without mentioning it’s traditions and rituals. The Aude is Catar country and the rich history of the region still echoes down through the ages, with many traditions from around that time continuing to this day. Most notably are around the towns of Castelnaudary and Limoux with food and festivals going hand in hand.
Carcassonne the prefectorial town of Aude and also the home of the world famous la Cite, the walled citadel. I actually love both La Cite and the town of Carcassonne for different reasons. Yes, La Cite is fabulous and rightfully one of the most popular tourist attractions in France but Carcassonne town is a little gem too. There are a couple of pretty little squares surrounded by a wonderful selection of bars, cafes and restaurants and there’s just a warmth to the people of the city too that make it a lovely place to visit. By all means visit La Cite (but avoid the main streets where you can and head for the perimeter walls) and fill your camera up with photos but stay outside the citadel and you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Narbonne, a sub prefecture town of Aude, which is slightly larger than Carcassonne. It has a stunning Gothic cathedral, the Cathedrale de St-Just and St-Pasteur, is certainly worth a visit. This town is famous for it’s rugy team, being one of the best in France. For more information about this interesting town, you might want to read the the blog ‘Alternative Narbonne’, written for us by Val Wineyard, one of our guest bloggers who lives and works in the town.
Castelnaudary epitomises Aude in my view. Situated between Toulouse and Carcassonne, this town is said to be the birthplace of the Cathar movement and also (and in my mind more importantly!) of Cassoulet.
It’s certainly not the place to go if you’re watching your waistline. Even in the height of summer the food here is sturdy with Cassoulet being on virtually every restaurant menu.
This is a pretty un-commercial town on the Canal du Midi and the old ‘canal port’ is a bustling part of the town with plenty of colourful canal boats and a good choice of cafes and restaurants.
Aude property market overview
With Gard, Aude is joint third in terms of property prices for this region with the average price for an apartment being €2,029 / sq m and for a house €1,601 / sq m
La Cite de Carcassonne
Air: The international airports of Perpignan, Carcassonne and Toulouse means that, whilst this department is large you’re still no more than 2h30 from an international airport.
Road: The A9 which runs from Nimes in the Gard, hugs the coast through Herault, Aude and right down past Perpignan in the Pyrenees Orientalles where it reaches the Spanish border. The A61 from Narbonne to Toulouse then links up with the A62 for Bordeaux and the A20 heading north towards Paris.
Train: here’s a google map showing all the SNCF stations in and around Aude.
Size: 6,139 km2
Average income: £16,000
Teraine: rolling hills, mountains, gorges, vineyards, mediterranean
Properties for sale in Aude
Why not take a look at our great selection of Aude houses for sale.
If you need more information or advice about buying or selling a property in Aude, then please either give us a call, or fill in the form below and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.