Activities & sports in the Aude
Our ‘department’, the Aude, is one of France’s least populated and has vast areas of beautiful countryside, infinitely variable with its mountains, flatlands and waterways, but also magnificent with its unique scenery and vistas – all begging to be explored and discovered.
There are many ways to incorporate this into a holiday, whether by traditional sporting pastimes such as fishing, golfing, cycling or hiking or being a bit more adventurous with canoeing, horse riding, sailing or wind surfing – or simply by driving and sightseeing. Either way you’ll gain exposure to a fabulously different environment and, hopefully, get a glimpse of some unfamiliar flora and fauna into the bargain!
We’re always on hand at Barthe to provide pointers to help you fulfill your particular interests and the following may give a few ideas of what’s available locally.
Fishing is allegedly the world’s most popular pastime and, with the River Aude only a couple of hundred metres from Domaine de Barthe, the family ‘fishers’ should pack their rods and tackle! Clients have caught Carp, Chub, Barbel and Catfish, even Trout during the spring ‘thaw’ flows (the river source is high in the Pyrenees) – mind you, others have caught nothing, but that’s fishing for you! We also know where the ‘locals’ fish, so can point you to the best spots!
The Canal du Midi is also worth a try and that’s only a few minutes’ drive away. For SEA FISHERS, boat trips can be arranged from Gruissan marina, where rod & tackle can be included for a reasonable rate. Beach/surf casting is possible from Gruissan, Narbonne and Fleury beaches, also with professional accompaniment at hourly/half daily rates if required.
Golfers can get their fix at Carcassonne’s 18 hole course (being our nearest at a 15 minute drive away), which offers reasonable green fees and has a rather challenging first hole! Club hire is possible, but advance booking is necessary during high/peak seasons. We can do this for you in advance of your holiday arrival if required and there are usually a few ‘expat’ golfers around (of various handicaps!) who would be pleased to join you for a round or two (again, this can be arranged in advance if required!).
There are other courses further afield at Bezier (50 minute drive), Saint Cyprien (near Perpignan – 70 minute drive) and Montpelier (75 minute drive).
Cycling is a great way to explore the local area and, as we’re in the Aude valley, it doesn’t have to be too energetic either! There are several mapped routes which will take you along quiet commune roads and through the vineyards. We are also only a 10 minute bike ride to the towpaths of the Canal du Midi, which can take you towards the centre of Carcassonne in one direction, or through scenic Minervois country in the other.
There are many pretty canal side villages with restaurants and bars to stop off at – and it’s not unknown for us to rescue cycling groups from these places, with our Landrover and trailer, after a good lunch!! If you can’t bring your own bikes, then bike hire is available, but this must be booked in advance, especially during peak & high seasons. For the more energetic, there are also VTT mountain bike circuits nearby and some courses are definitely not for the faint hearted – ask for more details!
The TOUR DE FRANCE will also pass by fairly locally at some point during the summer so, if you are a fan of this event, let us know in advance and we can advise of the nearest viewing point for you.
This is a very popular activity in France with a network of well-marked interconnecting ‘grandes randonnées’ (GR) public footpaths running throughout the country. Several pass close to Domaine de Barthe and we have accumulated a good selection of excellent circular rambling routes, many incorporating the GR paths, of varying abilities and durations. Some involve panoramic walks through the Alaric and Corbiere mountains, taking in the occasional isolated ancient monument and breath-taking views; others are through vine country and picturesque villages. All are well marked and we have personally tried many (but not all!) and can therefore advise on, or even accompany you on walks, as we particularly enjoy this activity.
As this is a popular group/club activity and, as we are able to accommodate groups of up to 20 people staying at Domaine de Barthe, we welcome enquiries from walking clubs/groups who we feel will find this area of particularly interest.
Canoeing/kayaking on the river Aude is available from nearby Puicheric (a few minutes’ drive). This activity is run by a local business (eau rizon) who offers hourly, half daily or day (5/6hrs) canoe/kayak hire.
For the more adventurous they also offer ‘canyoning’ and ‘white water’ excursions at Belvianes towards the Pyrenees.
If you or your group have any special interests or enjoy particular activities, please let us know in advance of your holiday and we shall be pleased to investigate what might be available for you nearby.