The Aude is a department in south-central France named after the river Aude. The local council also calls the department “Cathar Country”. It is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees mountains. It is part of the current region of Occitanie. It is surrounded by the departments of Pyrénées-Orientales, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Tarn, and Hérault, with the Golfe du Lion on the east. Each natural region of the Aude has its own particular landscape. In the east, lagoons or coastal lakes form a barrier between land and sea. These were formed by accumulated sediments brought down by the rivers Aude, Orb and Hérault. Aude is under the influence of a Mediterranean climate.
The autumn is characterized by violent and short storms. The summer is often hot and dry, which is favorable to the culture of the vine and the olive-trees. Yet, the department has several contrasts in climate: In the north, the Montagne Noire and, in the south, the Pays de Sault, have a mountainous climate with temperatures sometimes very low in winter. In the west, the climate is under Aquitaine influence with heavier precipitation while in the east the climate is purely Mediterranean. In the centre, in the Limouxin, Carcassonnais and of Razès areas, the climate is known as intermediary with significant exposure to winds. The winds are often present in Aude. It is one of the windiest French department, with 300 to 350 days of wind per year. This phenomenon is mostly due to the variations in relief north and south which create a kind of corridor.
In the north-west blows the Cers, called Tramontane in Provence, which is a ground wind. It is a dry, somewhat violent wind and cold in winter. In the south-east blows the Autan, locally called the Marin, which is hot and wet and comes from the sea.
The Aude is an agricultural area dominated by vineyards. In the east are the wines of Corbieres and La Clape, in the centre are Minervois and Côtes de Malepère, and in the south Limoux wine. In Lauragais grain is predominant, whereas in the Montagne Noire only sheep farming is possible. More recently there has been an increase in cultivation of olive trees for their oil.
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|Visa requirements||Visa is not needed for EU citizens.|
|Area (km2)||6,139 km2|