France
Aude

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

109 travelers at this place:

  • Day564

    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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  • Day156

    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 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!

  • Day156

    The Old Roman Bridge

    October 4 in France

    Walking from the castle to the Roman Bridge leads to some pretty views from the "newer" old town. This area used to be a wool manufacturing area, and the Canal du Midi was used to transport the cloth for export.

  • Day2

    6.10.2018
    Carcassonne - Bézier - Montpellier

    After having breakfast with Zé and Luisa we went to the food market in the city centre of Carcassonne. I was never in France before. This is my first time but what the eyes can see and the nose can smell takes me back to the imaginary of Joanne Harris and her books about France. Although we’ve just had breakfast I feel like eating all the nuts and olives. The fruits and veggies were so fresh and the flowers incredibly beautiful and scented. Afterwards we went back to the Gare de Carcassonne, just to take a look at the Canal du Midi during the day. Throughout the day we passed by it many times and on Béziers we made long stop to visit the nine dams that are ready to get the boats up and down the canal. It is amazing that so many years ago they had the knowledge to build such a great art of engineering. The city centre of Béziers is also very nice with its catedral showing its grandiosity as a skyscraper of the past! But before getting there we still had time to go to the citadel of the castle in Carcassone with a short stop to taste the Cassoulet, which is like our “feijoada” in Portugal.
    In the evening Montpellier almost gets me crazy. It is not easy to park a car in French cities and when finally we can do it, because a car is leaving, but the driver gets mad at your position in the park and he decides to put the car back in the parking place and start shouting at me... then I caught myself shouting back and saying a bunch of “truths” to the man like: “Vous êtes trés gentile. C’est à cause de personnes comme vous que j’aime lá France!!!” It seemed that suddenly I could speak French!!! Eheheh! In the end he left and we had a perfect spot! Dinner was perfect too. The city centre of Marseille is very lively and the food was special! Once again, but under a heavy rain and crazy thunderstorm, we slept in the van in a place out of Montpellier called Carnon-Plage - a small stripe of land facing the salty lagoons and the Mediterranean Sea.
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  • Day83

    Carcassonne

    July 16 in France

    Nach unserer Ankunft in Toulon starten wir den Versuch am Mittelmeer ein paar entspannte Tage zu verbringen. Wir sind eine Nacht auf dem Campingplatz. Da aber auch hier wieder Animation angesagt ist, entschließen wir uns am nächsten Tag an den Atlantik weiter zu fahren. Wir machen Halt in Carcassonne um die sehr beeindruckende Burg anzuschauen und fahren in die Nacht hinein.

  • Day13

    Paris to Carcassonne

    September 8, 2017 in France

    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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  • Day14

    Boating on the Canal du Midi

    September 9, 2017 in France

    We spent the day mildly experiencing what it would be like to be homeless in inclement weather. We had to leave our accommodation by 10am but couldn't check into our canal boat until 3pm, but it was raining in Carcassonne, which made everything all that much more difficult.

    So, we spent some time hanging out in the train station, a bit of grocery shopping, lunch under a tree by the canal, a very prolonged coffee in a shop, and then a bit of loitering at the canal boat place and we managed to get on the boat without getting wet!

    We had a few hours changeover with the boat where we got some navigation instruction from Alex (who was quite hopeless at driving boats, so not sure that we learnt much!), but which gave us a chance to work out we didn't have towels or toilet paper - the necessities of life... so we could rent some towels and buy some loo paper, and we were set.

    I had to purchase a Captain's hat for the husband so that he could pretend he really was in charge of the boat!

    And then we were off. Only a short km or two down the road and we hit our first lock. All was good though and I think we didn't do too badly navigating in and out of the lock. We are spending this entire journey "locking down" which is infinitely easier than going upstream from what I can tell.

    We pegged off on the bank a little white later and I made a risotto au jambon et aux champignons for dîner - yummy! (Sounds so much more exotic en Francais!)
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  • Day15

    Our first full day on the Canal

    September 10, 2017 in France

    More of the same really, locking, cruising, stopping and exploring, pegging off to sleep the night. Glen and Jeff made sausages and mashed potato for dinner with a yummy salad. We were followed by the crazy French man who drives his boat like a bull in a china shop - either totally full thrust forward or totally full thrust backward... as a result, he is spending a lot of time running into the lock gates, the other boats in the locks, the banks either side leading in or out of the lock. We are all quite surprised their boat is still afloat really!

    The other phenomena is that it is REALLY WINDY! And rained intermittently. Quite annoying really because the sun is not really an overwhelming factor of our day, and it interrupting my preconceived vision of cruising along the canal with a glass of vino in hand.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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

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