The Aude department in southern France is a true gem for those who love a mix of sea, countryside, and history. With HomeCamper, finding the perfect campsite for your stay is a breeze. Whether you're looking for a simple garden camping ground for your camper or something more unusual, HomeCamper's hosts have a variety of options to choose from!
As for things to see and do in the Aude, the options are endless. The department boasts a diverse range of landscapes, from the Corbières massif to the Mediterranean coast, with many ponds and valleys in between. The Mediterranean coast offers about fifty kilometres of beaches, with popular seaside resorts such as Port la Nouvelle and Leucate. For wind sports enthusiasts, Les Coussoules is the spot to be, hosting the World Wind Games annually.
Nature lovers will find the Aude to be a true paradise, with many beautiful natural sites that have been well preserved over time. The Black Mountain, for example, offers dense forests and mysterious landscapes. The Aude is also home to many gorges such as Galamus and St Georges, as well as rivers and lakes such as St Ferréol and Ganguise, providing a wide range of outdoor activities such as fishing, rafting, and canyoning. Hikers will also not be disappointed, as the Narbonnaise regional park offers hundreds of kilometers of trails to explore.
The Aude is also rich in history, particularly known for its castle of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its 3 kilometers of ramparts surrounding the city. Carcassonne, with its 52 towers and beautiful walks, is a must-visit, as are many of the city's museums such as the lapidary museum. The Narbonne gates and the Saint Nazaire Basilica are also worth visiting. The department is also home to ten castles, including Lastours Castle in the Montagne Noire and Puilaurens Castle at an altitude of 700 meters, as well as various abbeys that bear witness to the history of the Aude, notably the abbey of Fontfroide.
More on the two main cities of the department Carcassonne and Narbonne:
Carcassonne is one of the most iconic and well-preserved fortified medieval cities in Europe. The city is divided into two parts: the Cité, which is the fortified medieval city, and the Ville Basse, which is the lower town. The Cité is a must-see for anyone visiting the Aude, with its 3 kilometers of ramparts, 52 towers, and beautiful walks. The castle, known as the Château Comtal, is also worth a visit as it houses a museum dedicated to the history of the city. Visitors can also explore the narrow cobblestone streets, lined with shops and restaurants, and take in the stunning views from the top of the towers. One underrated spot in Carcassonne is the St. Nazaire Basilica, which is an impressive example of Gothic architecture and offers beautiful views of the city.
Narbonne is another must-visit city in the Aude. Known for its rich history, Narbonne offers a glimpse into the Roman and medieval past of the region. Visitors can explore the Narbonne gates, a well-preserved Roman arch, and the Saint Nazaire Basilica, which is one of the largest and most impressive Romanesque churches in France. The Palais des Archevêques, the former palace of the archbishops of Narbonne, is also worth a visit as it now houses the Narbonne Fine Arts Museum. For a more relaxed and off the beaten path experience, visitors can take a stroll along the Canal de la Robine, which runs through the city and offers beautiful views of the water and the surrounding countryside.
When it comes to visiting the Aude, the weather is mild all year round, making it a great destination to visit any time. However, if you're looking to avoid the high heat and crowds, it's best to avoid the months of July and August. May is a great time to visit as it offers the perfect balance of warm weather and the tranquility to explore this beautiful part of southern France and enjoy swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. The Aude is also home to many festivals and celebrations throughout the year, such as the Carnaval de Limoux, one of the oldest carnivals in France, and the Fêtes de la Saint-Vincent, a celebration of Saint Vincent, the patron saint of winegrowers. There's also the Festival international de Musique de Carcassonne, a classical music festival that attracts musicians and artists from all over the world. And, the Fêtes de la Saint-Félix in Narbonne, which honors Saint Félix, the patron saint of the city, and the Fêtes médiévales de Carcassonne, a medieval festival that attracts thousands of visitors every year. The Aude is a department that offers endless opportunities to discover culture, history, and nature with friends and family. With so much to see and do, it's easy to see why the Aude is a must-visit destination in France.
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