Out and about
What's the bigger picture?
We’re 20kms from Carcassonne for airport, rail and motorway links and its fairytale-like medieval Cité (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Toulouse (the 'Pink City'), also with an airport is about an hour's drive west, as is Narbonne and the Mediterranean beaches to the east. South and north are to the mountains; the Pyrénées and Black Mountains respectively, again both reachable within about an hour's drive. And if you wish to spread your wings even further, you can drive to Andorra or Spain in about two hours.
Closer to home, there are many delightful towns to visit. Limoux sits astride the river Aude and is home to the sparkling Blanquette wine and winter Carnival (from January to April; the longest in the world!) Castelnaudary is proud of its Cassoulet dish and the picturesque Bassin which provides a popular mooring point on the Canal du Midi (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). And Mirepoix sports its grisly medieval gargoyles and excellent Monday market in its main square.
What is there to do?
This is Cathare Country and there are many castles, abbeys, museums and activities to help you discover this dynamic period of French history. Visit the fortress of Montségur to relive the horrors revived in “Labyrinth” by Kate Mosse or explore Rennes le Château; the setting for “Sepulchre”; another of Kate Mosse’s books with its mysterious links to the Da Vinci code. And rumour has it that Dom Perignon created the first “champagne” at the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, now known as Blanquette de Limoux. The scenery is breathtaking around here, with gorges, lakes and forests and there are numerous parks and wildlife centres to enjoy visiting.
Are you a busy bee?
For those wanting an energetic holiday, as well as providing a wealth of sightseeing, the region offers walking, cycling, horse riding, canoeing, fishing, adventure parks and many other activities and the nearest ski stations are about a 90 minute drive away. The region is also a corridor for migrating birds and is the perfect place for ornithologists.
Or a laid-back lounger?
For those seeking the quieter life, there’s plenty to see with little effort! Glide up and down the Canal du Midi or take a horse-drawn carriage or the little train around the famous medieval Cité de Carcassonne. There’s much to tempt the senses even from a pavement café chair or a picnic rug!
Have we tempted you yet?