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.
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.