France
Aude

Here you’ll find travel reports about Aude. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

134 travelers at this place:

  • Day953

    Limoux

    February 4 in France ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

    Martha is one of 12 motorhomes parked in a row at the riverside aire in Limoux. Although the sun is out now, very large puddles on the gravel and hard earth surface tell of the heavy rains we've had. Ahead of us, the locals, men of all ages and a few women are using the open space to play petanque. Two dozen or so spend all afternoon hurling their shiny steel balls up into the air with a flick of the wrist, aiming to end up closest to the target ball thrown four or so metres away. We suppose it is the same crowd that would be down the local pub on a Monday afternoon in the UK.

    We are making progress west and today the snowy peaks of the Pyrenees have been a far off spectacle to the south, looking like a painted backdrop. They seperate us from Spain and among them nestles the small country of Andorra. We'd initially planned to stay a night here, but with the cold, damp weather, we've changed our minds and opted to stay on low ground, hoping for a bit more warmth before we return to the UK.

    It has been a while since we've eaten out so when we saw a roadside friterie, Will pulled up and ordered a couple of bags as a lunchtime treat. There were signs in English and Spanish warning people not to drop rubbish and as they were cooking the chips, the server told Will we weren't allowed to eat them in the van in the car park because the police had been concerned by the amount of litter and had banned it. Vicky wasn't up to eating in the friterie, so we drove a little way and had our frites in a layby.

    The air temperature was almost in double figures when we arrived, giving our heating and batteries a break. Will sat on the low concrete wall nearby and fished in the River Aude which was teaming with Koypu. Plenty of petanque players came and chatted to him, giving tips on the good spots nearby, that he moved to as the afternoon wore on.

    Heavy rain fell overnight and when Vicky stepped out at 7:30am, it was into a huge, unavoidable puddle. She walked along the riverside, under a couple of stone bridges but the pedestrian bridge to a little island she'd hoped to cross over to was fenced off. The damp concrete buildings and dirty roads with dog mess on the pavement all looked a bit dismal in the weak morning light.

    The town looked interesting and using the Happy Cow app, we'd found a vegan restaurant nearby that we wanted to visit. However, it was only open from 7pm and Vicky didn't have the energy for exploring too far, so as the batteries were getting very low and the forecast was for yet more rain, we decided to move on, hoping better weather would coincide with a quieter, more scenic spot. Before going we visited Gamm Vert, a large garden store only 100m from the aire. We've given up on trying to grow fresh herbs in the van as there simply isn't enough light. Instead, Will bought an aloe vera plant; something we always used to grow when we lived in our house. We missed being able to use the sap to help our skin and occasionally a sore throat, so fingers crossed that it likes vanlife! Vicky also found an air plant, something she'd been looking for for a while to add a bit of greenery without the weight of the soil.

    As we were getting ready to go, two 'boy racer' cars screamed into the car park in front of us. Four youths emerged who didn't look old enough to drive. They lit cigarettes and had a bit of banter, larking about and making crude gestures to each other, they then got their balls out and commenced their game of petanque! Only in France eh!?
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  • Day952

    Coursan

    February 3 in France ⋅ ☁️ 7 °C

    The aire at Coursan is a grassy offering on the edge of town, just off a main road. It is surrounded by glossy, dark green shrubs and has a service point beside it. This morning's wind has blown all the clouds away and Vicky's little kalanchoe plants are pressed up against the window, enjoying the sun streaming in.

    We arrived in the late afternoon, the roads are getting larger and easier to drive along but the 25mph winds buffeted us to and fro. Being a Sunday, the day's journey took us over countless roundabouts occupied by the gilets jaunes, in makeshift shacks. Circles of blackened ground, often with a heap of rusted wire, pock marked the tarmac where they had heaped and burned tyres. Approaching one of the toll entry points to the A9, we saw huge plumes of thick black smoke streaming from a series of bases. Luckily we didn't need to pass by them. All that remained of some road signs were jagged metal stubs, others were taped over or sprayed with lurid yellow grafitti. Messages to Macron were chalked or painted onto the carriagway. Whatever their political ambitions, we are annoyed by these tactics.

    Whilst at Coursan we had a look at Maps.Me to scout out the local shops, of which there didn't seem many, apart from a few supermarkets at the other side of town. Will walked a decent distance to get to the river for a fish. It was in flood and unfortunately a gust of wind blew his equipment into the water. He managed to retrieve most of it, but lost the new rod rest he'd got for his birthday. Oh well. Although we've been doing more single night stops than we'd planned, we decided to move on again in the morning. We were grateful for the free stopping place but there just didn't seem to be that much character to Coursan. Hopefully, we'll find somewhere we really like and be able to stay longer than we would have otherwise.

    P.S. We've now uplpaded a 2 minute video of our drive through Monaco on the VnW Travels You Tube Channel: https://youtu.be/VFaBLIDGnYg
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  • Day564

    Caves, Narbonnaise Natural Park

    January 11, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Beginning the day high up, we descended towards the coast. The use of land for agriculture became more intense and we found ourselves surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. We continued to drop down through a huge gorge with sandstone villages in the lower reaches and crucifixes erected on the peaks.

    As we approached sea level we began to see large succulents with long pointed leaves growing wild and even passed a garden centre dedicated to palm trees. Unsettlingly we also saw a woman standing in a layby. We tried not to jump to conclusions but then saw another and another. The vegetation had reminded us of southern Italy and now we'd discovered something else the two places had in common; roadside prostitution.

    Close to our stopover we caught a glimpse of a far away Mediterranean Sea, its bright turquoise unmistakable. Pulling off the D6009 we pulled up in a lorry park in La Palme. It was pretty empty, with only one HGV and a few cars.

    Settling down with a cuppa we set about calling Saga to renew the van insurance and Will's brother for a catchup. A lot of cars had been pulling in, doing a circuit of the parking area then leaving. We didn't think anything of it until Vicky was cleaning the windowsills and a silver BMW drove slowly by the van, stopped and reversed until the guy driving was level with the window. He looked at Vicky with a lecherous grin on his face and nodded his head. It quickly dawned on Vicky that he was kerb crawling and thought she was a prostitute. Her skin began to crawl and she swished the curtain closed. He drove off but circled round and passed slowly by the van half a dozen times before finally disappearing up the road. We began to pay close attention to the cars pulling in and all contained a single male apart from one, who dropped a woman off near the entrance. With the realisation that this was a place for punters to pick up prostitutes we unsurprisingly no longer felt comfortable and took the decision to move 4.5km down the road to a different village.

    Vicky was upset by the incident but fortunately the place we stopped at in Caves had no hint of seediness about it. A dry and open patch of grassland outside a primary school, it was bordered by a few low rise self contained houses on 2 sides, a basketball court and large stoney fields of vines on the others. We could even make out the sea a few miles away on the horizon!

    The wind was strong and buffeted the van but the sun had been out nearly all day and the brightness was a welcome change. Will tried flying his kite but the very high winds proved too much and he soon retreated in to the van for a warming cuppa. As the light faded a rosy glow lit up the clouds and we were greeted in the morning with an intense amber sunrise over the mountains.
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  • Mar14

    Zwischenhalt auf dem Weg nach Spanien

    March 14 in France ⋅ 🌬 12 °C

    Der Weg ist unser Ziel. Deshalb kommen wir auch gemütlich voran mit Rosie. Auf dem Weg ins warme Spanien machten wir einen Zwischenhalt in Leucate. Ein Windsurfmekka. Für uns allerdings viiiiiiel zu windig. Trotzdem ein schönes Dorf mit wunderbarem französischem Essen...

  • Day14

    Arques

    April 14 in France ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Margrit und Benni vielen Dank für eure Gastfreundschaft. Ich habe die Zeit bei euch sehr genossen und mich gut erholt. Jetzt bin ich bereit für die Bergetappen via Andorra über die Pyrenäen.

    Pays Carthare 👍🏼

  • Day13

    Paris to Carcassonne

    September 8, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    That was a bit of an adventure. The freak show was on the move, twaddling through the streets of Paris with our luggage to the Anvers Metro station, changed lines a few stops along, then meandered over to the regional line, waited two hours for our train to come, caught the train to Narbonne (lovely relaxing part of the journey) and then we jumped on the train from Narbonne to Carcassonne where the train people decided that oversubscribing the number of passengers was a jolly good idea so we were squeezed into a train with way too many people, their luggage and their bikes. The only thing missing from the scene was a chicken or two flapping around (here Craig and I think back to our journey to Taveuni with Neal and Kerry-Anne). Poor Kate was once again at the correct height to smell the underarms and bums of obese smokers ;-)

    Luckily, our AirBnB was less than a 5 minute walk from the train station where we were met by our host. After dumping the luggage we set of for the 25 minute walk to the medieval Cité de Carcassonne.

    This place was spectacular. It has a 2,500 year history, but by the 1850s had fallen into disrepair and was decreed to be demolished. Thankfully the locals strongly opposed the idea and there was a campaign to restore it. Since then it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with good reason. We were able to freely walk along the ramparts. This sort of thing continually amazes us, whereas in Australia all the area would be regulated to death in terms of heights where railings would be in place. Here, there are huge drops and you walk freely through the place.

    The streets inside are cobbled and winding with little shops. There were a lots of tourist shops, which many of the reviews I read were quite disparaging about. I don't necessarily think they detracted from the place at all and gave it a bit of a market town bustle and appeal.

    After circumnavigating, we found a restaurant in the main square and we all elected to have cassoulet - a local dish which is a casserole containing a pork sausage, a duck leg and white beans which in essence forms a thick gravy. We also had a very LARGE bier (500mls), the boys had more than one. As a result, it was necessary to walk the last bit of getting home very fast in order to prevent bladder explosion.
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  • Day156

    The Medieval City of Carcassonne

    October 4, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    Carcassonne is the largest intact walled city in Europe. The city was started by the Romans, and because of its strategic location as a trade route, it has become what it is today: a well-maintained double-walled city.

    This year is the 20th anniversary of the city being placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and to celebrate, the city contracted with Swiss artist, Felice Varini, who attached yellow concentric circles around one of the walls' gates. it is a temporary exhibit; the circles are made of aluminum tape that comes off without residue.Read more

  • Day156

    The Old City and its Basilica

    October 4, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

    The old streets are fun to walk around. We discovered a beautiful basilica, named after two 1st century martyrs, Saint Nazaire and Saint Celse, built in 1066 (Roman) and later embellished in Gothic style. While we were in the basilica, we heard a Russian quartet singing sacred music a capella. Their voices seemed to fill the sanctuary and float to Heaven!Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Département de l'Aude, Departement de l'Aude, Aude

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