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Treasures of the Aude

Dominated by the peak of Nore, firmly anchored in the heart of Occitania,
The territories of the Carcassonnais country, historically delimited by the language of Oc,
Are proud to see the towers of La Cité rise, a hymn to the troubadours of genius,
In this Aude where the art of good living floats at the will of the sailor and the tramontane of shock.

From Carcassonne the medieval to the Cathar castles, from the Corbières to the Montagne Noire,
The Aude has a thousand faces of the Mediterranean beaches to the gorges of the Upper valley,
In a few kilometers we pass from the sea to the mountain, between ponds and vineyards to drink,
Meaningful in Latin, the Aude carries well the name of the river that crosses it packed.

On the Port La Nouvelle side, between the lagoon and the rural area towards the Canal de la Robine,
Extends the site of Saint Lucia with its ancient salts of the coastal lagoon of Ayrolle,
Once an intense activity animated this ribbon of fresh water with the ballet of the heroin barges,
Unloading the Lauragais cereals in the silos for the Mediterranean agricultural area.

By borrowing the old felted alley of rows of pines one reaches this poetic island,
Surrounded by paths covered with ocher dust leading to a semi-desert plateau,
Which is adorned here and there in spring with broom and gorse glistening with straw yellow,
Facing the lentils with purpurine flowers dotted with pretty grains of coral.

From the natural balcony of the rock St Antoine admire the majestic pines of Aleppo,
They border the ponds where the wind creates the waters without disturbing the flamingos,
The watered salinas welcome waders, oystercatchers, terns and avocets in pause,
On this bucolic land where radiates a white light in its case of luminous greenery.

Like an Ariadne's thread, the Robine Canal leads to the heights of the island without ruins,
Where on the old towpath, the wind brings in perfumes of resin,
In the pine forest, heated by the sun, the song of the lark calandrelle resounds on the lookout,
Hidden in the grasslands of this landscape with the bewitching beauty where stands the diffuse statice.

On the Caunes-Minervois side, what a pleasure to take the trail route,
Sent traced by the sheep in their ascent towards the Black Hunchback,
At the turn of a turn admire a pen of dry stones and its "capital" of stones,
Once on the ridge, the Gorges du Cros will reveal the panorama of the Roc du Moussu.

Accompanied by the kermes oaks with leaves resembling those of the spicy holly,
You will walk beside the plates of marble incarnate, red veined with a glittering whiteness,
Conducting the "Quarry of the King" from which were extracted the columns of the Trianon of Versailles,
Some abandoned on a stone road, still lie face to the face.

In the spring, embalming the garrigue, the rosemary raises its pale purplish flowers,
The industrious bees preparing to make a honey of unsuspected virtues,
You will also see the generous flowers of the cottony rocky cistus,
With the delicately crumpled appearance giving a form of helix to its uniparous cyme.

Overlooking the Argent-Double, go on an adventure towards the Col des Bouis,
The medieval castle of Citou will allow you to admire the performances of Jean le Blanc,
Descending in a winged manner the folded wings on himself the dazzled flying circuet,
He landed, spreading out his large flight-worms, all clamping outside, his fiery prey.

Between Black Mountain and the hills of the Trap, the Lauraguais, the cradle of Catharism,
Known the ferocity of the crusaders of Simon de Montfort towards St Felix de Caraman without fatalism,
After this terrible period, the Renaissance brought a real miracle with "Isatis"
A crucifere with its blue dye, more commonly known as "pastel" in the past.

Its dried leaves, crushed and kneaded in the form of balls called cocagnes,
Will bring to the Lauraguais an unparalleled prosperity and a name "Pays de Cocagne"
Synonymous of prosperous lands, sheltered from the reverses of destiny where one casts days of happiness,
Mireval, nestled in gentle hills, testifies to these hours of splendor.

Not far from there, on the shores of the Ganguise, by the lake, the gray heron,
This bird with a long beak, with a long neck, on a single paw,
Waiting for the passage of a prey that will knock out a powerful blow,
While spinning like an arrow on the water, the kingfisher seeks his pittance without break.

Paradant on the wave the whistling duck seeks to seduce cohort females,
When, in the calm waters of the lake, the pike perch is unfurling, spreading its thorny dorsal veil,
By carping the carp that the monks of the Middle Ages considered a dear,
While the pike more regulating than predatory hunts in search of dead prey.

Following the course of the Aude through its journey in the Pyrenean agricultural Piedmont,
What landscapes in this country of gorges and parades, plateaus and vineyards,
In the woods of the Madres massif, adorned with large pine trees and beautiful beech trees,
In winter, the owl of Tengmalm plays his "poupoupou" to make his court to shoot wings.

Close to these magnificent forests, perched on its promontory, the Castle of Puylaurens,
Evokes the memory of the intransigent mystic of the message of the "Perfect"
Who by their Cathar dualism between the kingdom of the Good and the world of the Evil of the senses,
They had them classed among the heretics, and devoted as such to the stake of the imperfect.

From the Mediterranean to the foot of the Pyrenees, the notorious Cathar trail,
Snakes through heaths and broom, through vineyards and villages, this fragment of history,
Unveiling through its "citadels of vertigo" the life of the "Bonshommes" and their tribes,
Going up the course of history through the Aude de Peyrepertuse to Quéribus.

Continuing to walk, the Pays de Sault opens its valleys of the Rebenty and the Jocou,
Gorges steep, narrow passes, rivers tumultuous offer to the hikers daredecro,
In the heart of the Quercorb the medieval castle of Puivert recalls the "cours d'amour"
And below the Pyrenees audoises have as their capital Quillan, city of the hat-making of courts.

In the Pyrenean wake the sweet valley of Razès offers its vin de Malepère,
The stop in Limoux allows to taste the famous Blanquette of the grandfathers,
Then to walk on the trails of Nébias in the middle of the forest of pubescent oaks,
In a green labyrinth of a labyrinth of karstic rocks covered with mosses of yesteryear.

All the winters Limoux saw its tintamarre, the "fécos" parade in traditional costumes
We celebrate by cracking the "pebrados", it is carnival under the sun.
On the banks of the Aude you can also taste the auricles and "pescalhos"
The divine nectar of the divine Blanquette offering his dip to the "limos".

To the south of the great vineyard the vine attack the slope of the Corbières,
Here the history of the mountain of Alaric will lead you in the footsteps of Roland,
The legend tells that to escape the enemy he blew his pounding steed,
On the other side, toward the Montagne Noire, the footprint of the hoof remains inlaid in the stone.

It was Charles Trenet who saw the towers of Carcassonne appearing on the horizon of Barbaira,
This small viticultural village, illuminated by sun between vineyards and rocks, raises its stone bell tower,
The ruins of Miramont recall the notoriety of the local lord Chabert de Barbaira,
Hero of the Cathar epic, this faydit was nicknamed the lion of fight to the murderous soul.

It is by a gentle stroll along the towpath of the Canal du Midi to the tutelary plane trees,
Whether one is preparing for the aesthetic shock endured by the imposing medieval city of Carcassonne,
From the Porte d'Aude to the Porte Narbonnaise, two thousand years of history resonate,
In the shelter of the walls where the Saracen Dame Carcas dyed head to Charlemagne the popular.


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