The regionAude in Languedoc-Roussillon in the Cathar Country
Aude in Languedoc-Roussillon, in the Cathar Country
From the Meditarranean to the Lauragais lowlands, from the Pyrenees to the Black Mountain, Aude with its nine counties: the Carcassonnais, the Malepère, the Razès, the Lauragais, the High Valley, the Corbières, the Minervois, the Narbonnaise and the Quercorb, have such a variety of landscapes: hills, forests, massifs, canyons, gorges, rivers, canals, sea, lakes and mountains… that it is the county of unforgettable holidays.
The sites of the Cathar Country
The cité of Carcassonne
She stands majestic, with her 3 km of ramparts on two walled enclosures. The ramparts, the castle and the cathedral of the medieval cité offer a privileged access to this exceptional heritage and its 2500 years of history.
The Canal du Midi
The Canal du Midi, like the Cité of Carcassonne is on the Heritage of UNESCO list, has been built by Pierre Paul Riquet. It crosses the Aude from West to Est to connect the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea. Its construction was 14 years long, mobilizing 12 000 men and women. Formerly, the canal was intended to merchandises transportation. Today it is mainly borrowed by boaters.
The Cathar Castles
Puylaurens, Citadel of vertigo in the Aude Pyrenees, perched at an altitude of 700 metres in the heart of a mountain remained a wild mountain; Peyrepertuse, hanging on a limestone ridge which rises to 800 metres of altitude, it embodies one of the most remarkable castle of the South of France; Quéribus, the last stronghold of the Cathar resistance, at its feet, the show “an evocation of Catharism through the history of the priest of Cucugnan” is presented in the Achille theatre of Cucugnan… The ancient fortresses, which delimited the kingdom of France, at the top of rocky outcrops, with over 700 metres of altitude, were the refuges of the cathars escaped to in the time of the Inquisition, in the Middle-Ages.
Famous abbeys where monks invented the sparkling Blanquette de Limoux and where the Comtes of Carcassonne are buried; Fontfroide, one of the biggest Cistercian abbey of Europe, which was one of the most active bastions during the crusade against the Albigeois. Lagrasse, founded in the 8th century by Charlemagne, this powerful Benedictine abbey could see a flourishing city growing on the opposite bank of the Orbieu river. Lagrasse is nowadays classified amongst the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”. All these abbeys are to be discovered along the same road “the roads of the Abbeys”, through the massif of Corbières which is wild and stunning.
Lots of information and routes are available at the reception. Leisure and cultural activities are offered in the area: For the youngest :
- Imaginarium and jousting tournaments in the Medieval city of Carcassonne
- Dinosaurs Museum and involvement in the excavation in Espéraza
- Paper mill in Brousses et Villaret to make your own paper
- Kangaroo park and tree climbing in the lake of La Cavayère in Carcassonne
For the adults :
- Discover the Aude Gorges : Pierre Lys and St Georges
- A lazy day at the beach, along the Mediterranean
- Cruises on the Canal du Midi
- Visits to the cellars of Malepère and Blanquette de Limoux
- Local markets – gourmet, traditional and colourful: Carcassonne, Limoux, Espéraza, Trèbes, Castelanudary.
- Festival in July of the 2 Cités: paying or free concerts for all tastes
- Fireworks of the Cité de Carcassonne, the 14th of July
- Feria de Carcassonne in August: bodegas, flamenco shows, bandas
- Medieval shows, jousting tournaments, sound and lights : in the Cité of Carcassonne, the castles and the abbeys in July and August
- Chamber music, medieval or Renaissance chants in the abbeys
- Many events in the nearby villages
- Dances and concerts in Limoux all summer