Highlights of the year in Aude

Aude is rich in events. While celebrations and festivals take place throughout the year, they reach their peak in the summer season, when the festivities are everywhere, even in the small villages! We have selected a few highlights for you to enjoy with your family, friends or partner... but the choice is huge, with sports events, food festivals and plenty of other chances to enjoy those fun and friendly moments of togetherness!
Le festival les Bulles Sonores à Limoux, cr. Arnone, OT Limouxin

A little culture!

In July and August, the eclectic Carcassonne Festival has something for everyone. Rock and pop from the French and international scene, plays, operas and classical music performances attract hoards of fans to the spectacular setting of the Théâtre de la Cité and various other venues around the Bastide, on the squares and in the courtyards of private mansions.
The fun continues in August with the Knights’ Tournament in the Citadel bailey.
The kids will love it!

L'abbaye de Fontfroide la nuit ©Céline Deschamps

Fontfroide, a beautiful abbey and culture hub in Aude, places the spotlight on music, with a number of major festivals such as “Fontfroide a du Choeur” (end June) when a dozen choirs perform a classical and contemporary repertoire. Fans of Baroque music will enjoy the “Music & History” festival directed by Jordi Savall (mid July).

Carcassonne Festival
Here you’ll find full details of this magnificent festival

Find out more

Carcassonne, théâtre jean deschamps
Maison du banquet à Lagrasse

A little tradition

Découvrir l'Abbaye de Lagrasse©Vincent Photographie

Every spring, summer and autumn, three huge “Banquets” attract a very large audience to the medieval abbey and village of Lagrasse. There’s also a literature and philosophy festival with book shops, readings, philosophy workshops and hiking …

During the Festival of Saint Pierre (29 June) the fishermen of Gruissan carry the ceremonial boat (symbol of work) and a lit candle (symbol of faith) in long procession to the bust of the Saint installed in the church, to celebrate High Mass. An ancestral tradition well worth discovering.

carcassonne, feu d'artifice, cité

The traditional 14th July firework display has been setting Carcassonne ablaze for over a century, lighting up the rampart walls of France’s most incredible medieval citadel. 30 minutes to feast your eyes. As spectacular as they come!

Did you know?

Each year, this firework display attracts nearly 700,000 spectators!

carcassonne, feu d'artifice, cité
Carnaval de limoux, pierrot

Each year, every Saturday and Sunday from January to late March, the arcades of the main square in Limoux vibrate to the sound of carnival groups and traditional music. Limoux Carnival is considered to be one of the oldest and longest-lasting carnivals in the world. This is truly “raw folklore” and deserves to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

A little sport!

Saint-Pierre-la-Mer, Gruissan, Leucate… three resorts, three dates, and a whole variety of boardsport events that bring the world’s very best riders to an extraordinary spot in France, the shores of Aude.

You absolutely must see the hair-raising spectacle of kitesurfers competing in the Mondial du Vent at Leucate and the Défi Kite at Gruissan, or admire the windsurfers riding the waves during the Défi Wind races. At Saint-Pierre-la-Mer, the world’s elite young riders and future champions battle it out for 4 days during the Junior Kitesurf Freestyle World Cup.

Leucate, kite surf - ot leucate

Cap Nore, Deval'Nore

Cap Nore and Deval’Nore are not competitive events! No rankings, no prize ceremony. Just great pictures and a head full of memories of these long-distance mountain-bike events on the Montagne Noire. Try it yourself or just watch. Either way, this event is not to be missed by nature lovers or photography fans!

Pic de Nore, descente à vélo
grand raid cathare

On or off piste, Aude has no shortage of trail runs, ultra runs and other long-distance races throughout the year, many of them near historical sites. So get your calf muscles working, with the Great Cathar Trail Race in Quéribus, the Carcassonne Trail Run, the Fontfroide Trail Run of Lagrasse and, for the ladies, the Alycias Trail Run in Peyrepertuse or the Gazelles Trail Run at Caunes-Minervois. Not forgetting the Barberousse Trail Run in Gruissan, and the Foulées de la Montagne Noire Trail Run…
In case you’re still not convinced that this is a fabulous world-class sports venue, the Tour de France cycle race comes to Aude nearly every year!

A little indulgence!

In Aude, the truffle market season is from December to February when the harvest is in full swing. This is indeed the time of year when their aromas are most intense.

Villeneuve Minervois, marché aux truffes

These colourful, pleasantly crowded markets are a highlight of the culinary year in Aude. There are even special truffle weekends devoted entirely to the “black diamond”. Go along to discover all its secrets!

Did you know?
The truffle is today un produit Pays Cathare® 

Dégustation de truffe ©mrdidg-Pixabay
Canard gras - OT castelnaudary

As Christmas approaches, Aude becomes a gourmet haven of togetherness.

The Poultry Fairs are a deep-rooted tradition. Foie gras, capon, duck-breast fillet and confit are among the delights available for your festive meals! You can even watch a demonstration or attend a quick lesson on preparing your own homemade foie gras.

Toques & Clochers, one of the great popular events and a favourite among the people of Aude, takes place every year during the weekend of Palm Sunday. The public can visit the village and appellation area of Limoux and taste the wines in the company of the winegrowers.

The highlight of the event is the wine auction, when money is raised to renovate the bell towers of the villages located within the Limoux appellation area, and the gala dinner prepared by Michelin-starred chefs. This explains the name of the event (literally, “chef’s hats & bell towers”)! A great moment blending prestige and festivity.

Cépie 2017, toques et clochers.