Wednesday, 23 November 2011

5 Must-See Travel Spots in Aude

This is a guest post from Cindy McDonald a travel enthusiast and writer. More details at the end of the article.

A department of France forming part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the southern portion of the country, Aude attracts visitors flocking from all over the world to bask in its magnificent scenery, post-card worthy villages, and expansive history centered on the legends of the medieval crusades. If you are planning a trip to experience all that Aude has to offer, be sure to check out the following picks for the top five travel destinations in this particular department that are nothing short of must-see:

Cathar Castles of Aude.The lasting mark of the turbulent Cathar period (1165—1271) can be found today in the form of the magnificent Cathar Castles in Carcassonne. Some restored and some ruins, these castles are situated in an area of France defined by its panoramic views of mountains, valleys, vineyards and rocky peaks. The most impressive castles of Cathar are known to be Queribus, Peyrepertuse, Villerouge-Termenes, Lastours, Aguilar, Saissac and Arques. You can visit a few of these castles easily as they lie in villages…however, keep in mind that because of their remote location, several of the fortresses require a rough walk up tricky terrain.

Bize-Minervois.If you are venturing to Aude during the hot months of summer, don’t pass up a chance to stop by the small village of Bize. Located between the Narbonne and the Black Mountains with the river Cesse flowing through, Bize makes for the perfect spot to share a family day alongside the pebbled banks that meet the crystal clear river waters. With the romantic feel of old stone houses and quaint restaurants and shops littering cobbled paths, you may never want to leave!

Sigean Nature Reserve.For all of you nature lovers traveling to Aude, be sure to take a trip to visit the Sigean Nature Reserve in the town of Sigean. Spread over an expansive 300 hectares, you can journey the main route through the park via bus or car to gaze at the thousands of wild animals that claim home to the reserve.  Not only is the reserve fun for families that come to take in the wonder of animals such as lions, zebras, flamingos and rhinoceros, but it is also utilized as a research facility and conservation for these threatened creatures.

Port-la-Nouvelle.Known for its stunning Mediterranean coastline, you can’t travel to Aude without heading to this region in southern France where you will find the resort town of Port-la-Nouvelle. Each year, the fifteen kilometer long beach along the Mediterranean Sea draws mass crowds to its sandy shores where you will enjoy an array of activities amongst a town full of cafes, hotels and restaurants. While you can find plenty to do in Port-la-Nouvelle, stray away from the beach and relish in a hike on one of the marked trails to take in the natural environment composed of waterways, woods and countryside. Don’t forget to see the ‘La Baleine’ on your trip…this is the skeleton of a 20 meter long whale washed up in the port over 25 years ago!

Gorges de l’Aude.Nestled in the town of Quillan, the dramatic Gorges de l’Aude are a great place for those with a passion for exploration and an appreciation for breathtaking landscapes. Thanks to the River Aude and its tributaries, massive ravines and gorges have been carved in the earth, and over time have produced the limestone cliffs marking the scenery today. Enjoy the wondrous beauty of the gorges by car or if you are more adventures, travel by way of biking or hiking.

Cindy McDonald is a travel enthusiast who shares with us this guest post on the Aude department. In addition to her adventures across the world and her passion for writing, Cindy also offers her dating advice on Christian singles dating sites.

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