Aude Property Insight
Aude is a department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region located in the south of France. It is surrounded by the following departments: Pyrénées-Orientales, Ariège, Tarn and Hérault. Its name comes from the coastal eponymous river. With its numerous and varied landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Aude has become an ever popular destination for French property buyers. You will probably be charmed by the Aude’s extraordinary gastronomy, festivals and scenery!
Even if not the largest town of the department in terms of population, Carcassonne is the prefecture of Aude, a low-density department of France where you will find lovely properties either to live in or to come on holidays in your second home. Aude is an agricultural area in which wine-growing dominates in the east and represents the first financial resource. The climate is Mediterranean so summers are hot and dry and winters are soft and humid.
Each natural region of Aude has its own type of landscape. As far as property is concerned, you will find in the east a coastal scenery with the sea, lagoons and ponds. This is a place where animals such as flamingos and white stilts like to gather. The perfect location if you are looking for a quiet area in which you will be in harmony with fauna. In the north of the department, the said country of the black mountain is formed of oak and beech forests where it seems easy to buy a large land to set up a B&B, a guest house or even a sheep breeding farmhouse.
Aude is a well-served area as all means of transport may be used. Two main motorways may lead you to the west of France Toulouse for example, which is accessible thanks to the A61), to Spain or to the north (the A9 connects the area with Spain or Montpellier for example).
Railways are very similar to land transport as regards the destinations on offer Paris, Brussels, Lyon, Spain…). Moreover, a high-speed line to Spain is currently being planned in the context of trans-European networks. This will allow you to go abroad and visit a country which has a very different culture.
The Canal du Midi is a major fluvial line going from Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and used by tourists or yatch sailors.
Finally, air transport is also developed since you can reach Great-Britain (London, Liverpool, Bournemouth and Nottingham), Ireland (Dublin, Cork and Shannon), Scotland (Edinburgh) and Belgium (Charleroi) from the Carcassonne airport. This allows you to go back to England regularly but this is also the opportunity for your relatives to visit you!
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Aude Immobilier & Property Market Trends
Over 14% of properties in Aude are second homes against 10% for France on average. Thus, Aude is becoming more and more sought-after and popular over the years. Moreover, Aude is the second cheapest department of the Languedoc-Roussillon. The average price of a property in 2009 is €2,346 /sq m against €3,197 /sq m at the national scale. In other words, it is worth buying a property there considering the market trends in the rest of France.
However, some towns like Narbonne or Port-la-Nouvelle still resist. Indeed, after a significant drop in prices in the late 2008, prices are now increasing. As contradictory as it may be, it will be more attractive for you to buy a 2 or a 3-room apartment rather than a studio flat in Narbonne, where the high demand for studio flats may be the reason for such a gap.
On the contrary, it is the appropriate time to buy a property in Carcassonne since prices in the town are dropping dramatically (€1,240 /sq m).
To get updated info about the housing prices in the Aude departement, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to learn more about Languedoc-Roussillon’s Property Prices.
5 Reasons to Buy a Property in Aude
Aude presents such a variety of scenery that it will certainly satisfy your family. If you want a quiet place to live in, near the sea, with excellent food and specialities, a beautiful architectural style and an infinity of activities to practise, this is the perfect location for you.
- Historical and cultural heritage: Limoux Carnival (“le Carnaval de Limoux” in French), which takes place every week-end from mid-January to the end of March, is the longest carnival of the world. Musicians and people disguised in Pierrot come and go in the streets of the town. Several museums are other assets of the cultural heritage of Aude: Musée de la Chapellerie (Hat Museum), Musée du Miel (Honey Museum), Musée des Dinosaures (Dinosaur Museum). The two first are part of the local production as well as wine, cereals and olive-oil. If you are interested in French wine, you will be able to buy some whilst attending a popular festival of the gastronomy, organised on the Palm Sunday. If you are an animal lover, you will be seduced by the African reserve of Sigean which shelters more than 3,800 African animals in relative freedom.
- Gastronomy: pork fricassee (dish cooked with pork and pork liver), eel bourride (fish soup), cassoulet (meat - typically pork sausages, pork, goose, duck and sometimes mutton - pork skin and white haricot beans) and Gruissan oysters are some of the typical dishes of the department.
- Sport and activities: Aude offers many opportunities to practise a sport or an activity such as rugby union, fishing or catch & release fishing (trout fishing is omnipresent but you can also find grayling or barbell), climbing (more than 600 climbing paths up), running water sports (kayak, canyoning, rafting or backpacking.
- Potholing: Aude is an attractive place for potholing. Indeed, the famous TM71 cave has been a natural reserve since 1987 (the only one in France). Many other caves containing interesting prehistoric vestiges can be visited each day in the department. Limousis cave is the biggest laid out cave of the Cathar country. It was the landmark of cave bears. Inside, you will see a 4-metre high aragonite chandelier: it is a unique mineralogical item in the world! Another cave, called “Les Balcons du Diable”, is also worth seeing as it is part of the biggest cave of the Unesco World Heritage.
- Cinema: Aude is an attractive place for actors and film directors due to its typical landscapes and monuments which offer dream settings! Indeed, its scenery is present in many successful movies as well as in television broadcasts.
Local Property Market: 5 Popular Towns
Aude is the 68th French department (out of 100) in terms of population. However, some of the towns are famous thanks to their authentic characteristics:
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- Carcassonne property: famous thanks to its ‘cité’, a medieval fortified town, Carcassonne is the prefecture of Aude. This is the most perfect example of defensive architecture with its towers, gates, massive walls and ancient houses.
- Leucate property: better known for its beach, Leucate is also the entrance door of the Natural Park of the region, where fauna and flora appears to be well-preserved. Leucate being the first harbour of Aude, is the perfect place for fishing lovers and for wine-growing. Definitely a town not to be missed.
- Limoux property: it is the capital of the « Blanquette », the oldest bubbly/sparkling wine of the world, but many other local products such as the Chardonnay make the name of this land. As regards geography, Limoux, to the south of Carcassonne is surrounded by lakes and valleys, which gives you the opportunity to practise many sports and activities.
- Narbonne property: this is the first town of Aude with regards to demography. It still holds numerous Gallo-Roman vestiges and sarcophagus which were originally in Aquitaine. This is also the native town of Charles Trenet, a famous French singer.
- Quillan property: it is famous for its castle (one of the rare examples of the military architecture of the 18th century) and for its bicycle racing contest (the oldest one in France). From Quillan, you have an easy access to Carcassonne, Perpignan, Foix and Spain.
Property Styles and Architecture in Aude
Aude has no real typical architecture. However, its Mas and farmhouses, originally from the south of France, are widespread in the department:
- Mas: usually built with local stones, Mas were a kind of farm but are now usually transformed in holiday house. Not all farms are called Mas, since some characteristics are required as for instance the size of the windows, the material used to build the house or the orientation of the house.
- Farmhouses: a farmhouse is, as its name denotes, the house of the farmer, where the latter set up his activity, usually cattle breeding. Farmhouses originally enabled farmers to be self-sufficient. As regards the architecture, it is practically similar to the Mas since farmhouses are also made with local materials (stones, wood).
- Bastides: before, the etymology of the word « bastide » had a large meaning: it referred to newly built houses or houses under construction. Nowadays, a bastide in Aude is a country house typical from the South West of France. It has a symmetrical layout and is in general painted (walls, doors, windows).
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