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The department of the Aude offers a magical and varied scenery. In the east is a series of coastal lakes. These brackish waters are home to exotic birdlife including white stilts and pink flamingos.

Further inland the dry scrublands host many species of wild orchid, pyrénéen lilies and numerous wild mushrooms.

To the north and west, the black hills are covered with oak and beech forests. Hot dry summers favour vines and olive trees.

The Aude is Cathar country with the magnificent fortified city of Carcassonne at its heart. The city is well worth a visit and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Aude fact file
Land area: 61 390 square kilometres
Population: 353 980
Population: density: 58 /km²
Main town: Carcassonne

Local property styles
This is a popular place for second homes and people are attracted by the reasonable prices, the large farmhouses in stone and wood and the 'bastide' properties which are symmetrical and often painted on the outside.

Click here for properties in the Aude.