As I wrote about our holidays last summer in Ariège here, I also wanted to mention some nice places we discovered in the neighboring department – Aude. Aude is already part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region but as we stayed close to Mirepoix, which is already almost at the border of the two departments, we also made some trips to Aude. Here are places we loved and I hope you can use these tips once you are in the surroundings! Especially the first two are worth a visit!
That day, we made a trip all together also with the parents of Steven and this was our first stop, lying in the heart of the wine region Cabardès. Steven found that Montolieu is a place for all lovers of (antiquarian) book shops and art culture and suggested we’d stop by. It is often referred to as a “Village of Books” as there are around 15-20 bookshops – mostly second-hand books and antiquarian books. There are also art galleries and workshops led by local artists and a museum of the history of books, print, and typography. After a stroll in this lovely village, visiting a few book shops, we continued to the next village and stopped halfway in the middle of vineyards for a picnic lunch that the parents prepared w
Our second stop that day was this medieval village, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was very warm on that day and so we shortly enjoyed wandering in its narrow streets, checking some of its artisanal boutiques, and then sitting on a bank of the river refreshing our feet in the water looking at the kids playing in the river under the Benedictine abbey Ste Marie d’Orbieu. The village as such is very picturesque and I would love to come back one day to discover more of it like the old bridge Pont Vieux from the beginning of the 14th century, the Gothic church, or heritage-listed houses.
On our way to Aude we passed through Carcassone. And because we omitted this busy touristy stop due to covid, we at least stopped to see it from distance. I guess the castle has been standing there for centuries so it will not disappear until we can visit it another time. 😉
As we were in France, we obviously wanted to visit some wine producers. Around Limoux, the vineyard landscape invites to that as well. But unfortunately, due to covid restrictions, we were not able to visit the Domaine Begude we got a tip for because the visit needed to be booked in advance (next time then!). So we just drove there and back, stopped on the way to show vineyards to Adeline, and tried to explain to her the destiny of the grapes. 😀
Cailhau and Fanjeaux
For a stunning view of the landscape, we drove to Cailhau and Fanjeaux, also situated in the Aude department. We arrived in the late afternoon and in both villages, there is a viewpoint at the highest place in the village, at the church. In Cailhau we had an afternoon fruit snack with the little one and enjoyed beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. In Fanjeaux, there were works but we could still access the viewpoint which was also a nice, poetic hilly landscape with fields and forests.