Geography

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We are situated in a valley on the Mediterranean side of the beautiful Black Mountains, at the southern end of the Massif Central an ideal position in the heart of the romantic Pays Cathare, the Aude offers a great number of exceptional sites:- The Upper Aude with its Hundred-year-old forests with lush flowering (wild orchids) vegetation stunning views, deep gorges tumbling waterways high craggy rock faces, ideal for water sports and the legendary cols for cyclists and hikers or visit its many ancient historic chateaux, abbeys and unspoilt villages many with markets offering superb fresh local produce. Within the mountains are a number of mountain lakes which are fantastic for walking, swimming sunbathing or barbeques and other water sports they make a wonderful day out. The Montagne Noire of the Haut-Languedoc and the vast national park of the Cevennes are situated between the Tarn and the Hérault departments., the Tarn and the mountains and lakes of Lozère, are a striking contrast to the coastal plains. Much of this area is protected and unspoilt wilderness of great beauty, where rural life and traditions have remained unchanged.

 

Carcassonne Canal du Midi   Grotte de Limousis

Languedoc-Roussillon is honeycombed with caves and caverns, forming one of the richest areas of subterranean landscape in France . The Grotte de Limousis and Gouffre Géant de Cabrespine is the largest chasm on the world heritage listings.

This region hosts many festivals to music and is a gastronomic centre, many vineyards with ancient Chateaux, and hidden gardens pepper the area. Montpellier has the oldest botanical gardens in France .  The Languedoc boasts the largest forests in Europe and largest vineyards in the world - Sante! -  and the Cote Sablonneuse “sandy coast” has long long golden beaches.  

Narbonne Plage   Valras-plage    Pink Flamingos

 

Climate

 

The climate is Mediterranean , and influenced by the ocean and the mountains. The Aude enjoys an excellent microclimate and boasts 300 days of sun throughout the year, the highest in France . A must to visit.

Average temperatures in the shade

Spring & Autumn are excellent seasons and the days are warm and sunny.
Summer is usually hot and dry although the mountains are a little cooler than the coast.                                                                                                                               Winter is temperate, but the wind is dry. In the mountains, winter is colder and often snowy.                                                                                                                              

 

Towns and Villages

 

Camon:

« The little Carcassonne ». Camon is an ancient fortified village with picturesque streets and an abbey over-looking the area. There are numerous listed objects in the church. Church and Abbey may be visited.

 

Durfort: Specialising inbasket ware and copper pots and pans, a must for the cooking enthusiast.

La Louviere

-Lauragais

 

Marquein Molandier

Mirepoix: boasts the longest annual carnival in the world from January through March and claims to be the earliest producer of "methode champenoise" wine known as Blanquette, sparkling white wine, a favourite tipple with Madonna! and they claim that Dom Perignon stole the idea. You will find Mirepoix enchanting, with its medieval character, its Cathedral, square and covered galleries

SORÈZE: Its history is closely intertwined with that of the Benedictine abbey founded by Pépin le Bref during the eighth century. The medieval village built  on the Oppidum de Berniquaut was destroyed in 1212 by Simon de Montfort. The Abbaye Notre-Dame de la Sagne was razed to the ground and rebuilt several times. Sorèze was also a target for the Protestants during the seventeenth-century religious wars, the bell-tower of St Martin being the sole remnant of the abbey left standing. The Benedictines rebuilt the abbey in the course of the 17th and opened a school there in 1682. The college, elevated to the rank of Ecole Royale Militaire by King Louis XVI, took students from all round the world. A private establishment after the Revolution, the school was given a new lease of life in 1854 by the Dominican Père Lacordaire and the Dominicans continued to teach there until 1978, when the task passed to laymen until its closure in 1991.

 

The Montagne Noir

High up on the northern face of the Montagne Noire, the southermost face of the Massive Central, you will find a group of villages of real charm and distinction...

DOURGNE with its wild countryside and ancient sites, has a long history (Gallo-Roman remains) and an eventful past. Established in medieval times in the Taurou valley, Dourgne was devastated during the Albigensian crusade (13th century) by Simon de Montfort and reconstructed in its present location in the 14th century by King Philippe le Bel. The new "bastide" (town fortified against the perfidious English)  became an important manufacturing centre. The abbeys of "En Calcat" and «Sainte Scholastique".

MASSAGUEL: Nineteenth-century church. Frescoes by Dom Robert. Ruins of Contrast dominating the village.

VERDALLE
: Château de Touscayrats (15th century), Château de Verdalle (16th/17th centuries), church of St Jean (13th century) on the pilgrim route to St Jacques de Compostelle.

SAINT-AMANCET
: Fourteenth-century chateau.

ARFONS
: Church of St Jean (17th century). The maison Trilhe. The Chapelle des Escudiés.

ESCOUSSENS
: La Halle (16th century). Gothic church. Valley of the Bernazobre ( Forest , caves of the Plo del May), Château Fontbruno, Monument to the Resistance.

SAINT-AVIT: Houses with half-timbering and corbel-work. Twelfth-century church, the oldest in the region.

LAGARDIOLE: Chateau and church.