Natural landscapes

From the Mediterranean sea to the Pyrenees, from the lagoons to the Massif Central, from the Lauragais to the Corbières, Aude presents throughout its territory an exceptional range of landscapes and natural sites.
Sandy beaches, marine lakes, white water valley of Aude, forests, mountains and plateaus, gorges and potholes are as many natural sceneries to practice outdoor activities throughout the year,  and discover an authentic country full of character.

From the Pyrenees to the Black Mountain

Each natural land of Aude is marked by a particular landscape.

East, the lagoon and coastal ponds form a barrier between lands and beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, bathed in sunlight.

East, inland, scrublands dominate the rugged landscapes of the Corbières, while vines spread over the gentle hills of the Minervois.

To the north and west, the Black Mountain is forested with oak and beech trees, lakes and waterfalls.

The Lauragais deploys its undulating landscape, where grain agriculture shapes the hills. There are many lakes such as Lac de la Ganguise.

The plain of the "Carcassonnais", allows the Aude river and the Canal du Midi to flow.

The Upper Valley of Aude is the gateway to the Pyrenees, its hillside vineyards and gorges reflecting the diversity of its landscapes.

The Pays de Sault in the Pyrenees is dominated by beech and fir forests. Its forests are known for their particularly rich flora and fauna.

Mountains and forests

Aude is far from being a flat country.

At north lies the Black Mountain, 70 miles accross the Tarn and the Aude. Its highest point is the Pic de Nore, 1211 m height. The dark forests covering its slopes explain its name. Winding small roads  climb up the steep valleys, such as the Argent-Double, the Clamoux, the Orbiel, the wooded slopes of oaks and chestnut trees. Beyond 800 m unfold pastures, deciduous forests (beeches and oaks) or softwood (spruces and Douglas firs).

At the extreme south-west, the Pays de Sault is also a mountainous country. It offers a landscape of undulating uplands, with an average altitude of 950 m where green pastures are bordered by beautiful forests of beech and silver fir.


The gorges of Galamus

It is the Agly, a small river coming from the Pech of Bugarach,  which dug this deep cut tens of meters into the rock. The road that crosses the gorge, is very narrow (two yards) and leads to the Hermitage Saint Antoine, clinging to the vertical rock face.

The gorges of Rébenty and Joucou

In Aude's Pyrenees, steep canyons, narrow gorges (Rébenty and Joucou), rivers with rushing waters, are places for walking and relaxation, discovery of nature in the heart of deep forests, easy to access.

Pierre Lys gorge

From Quillan to Axat. Impressive passage between the cliffs. The "Trou du Curé" recalls the memory of Father Armand Felix, vicar of St Martin Lys, who drilled with the help of his parishioners the first tunnel, a dozen yards long, in the 18th century.

The Gorges of St Georges

From Axat, road D118 to Mont Louis (Pyrénées Orientales). They are the narrower gorges of the Upper Valley of Aude with high walls about 300 meters.

Lakes and water bodies

You can practice any water sports on the many equipped and shaded lakes of Aude, at the foot of Black Mountain, the Pyrenees or the Lauragais. Here are the main lakes of Aude:

Lac de la Ganguise  (Baraigne)

Created in 1977, this vast lake of nearly 300 hectares is located in the heart of the plain of Lauragais. An ideal place for water sports such as sailing and fishing.

Lac de la Cavayère (Carcassonne)

Near the city of Carcassonne, the lake of 22 hectares, has a maximum depth of 23 meters. Hidden and sheltered from wind, it is ideal for beginners to windsurf. It has 300 meters of equipped beach (grass and sand), playgrounds, picnic areas, picnic, tree climbing area ...

Lac de Saint Ferréol

This lake of 67 hectares, was the first lake-dam built in Europe, by Pierre Paul Riquet in the 17th century. It collects waters of the Black Mountain, which are then directed by the Rigole until it feeds the Canal du Midi. Leisure base, it possesses equipped beaches, and a walking trail of 5 km, which allows a full loop around the lake, under the freshness of the woods.

Bassin du Lampy (Saissac)

This reservoir of 23 hectares, supplies water to the Lake Saint Ferreol, then the Canal du Midi. From the lake, roads and trails scroll through the forests of Ramondens and The Loubatière.

Lac de Laprade (Laprade)

Built in 1984, the dam consists of a dike of 27 meters high and 117 meters wide, with a capacity of 9,000,000 m3. It serves many communities with drinking water. This body of water of 90 acres is ideal for practicing windsurfing and fishing.

Lac de Montbel (Chalabre)

70 hectares in area. Wooded banks, prevailing westerly winds, the lake Montbel is an ideal place for sailing, fishing and swimming.

Lac de Jouarres (Homps)

On this lake of 100 hectares, along the Canal du Midi, you can practice many water sports: swimming, sailing ...