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Geography: Rivers and Lakes in the Languedoc: The Aude

The Aude River is a river of southern France flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. length 210 km/130 miles. The name comes from the Latin Atax. The river Aude has given its name to the Aude département.

It rises in the Pyrénées-Orientales département, the river's headwaters lie above Les Angles on the east side of the Carlit Massif in the high Pyrenees ( The Name in Occitan. Click here to find out more about occitan.  Pirenčus,  The Name in Catalan Pirineus,  The Name in French Pyrénées), descending to the foothills of the French Pyrenees. It is used for white water rafting between Axat and Quillan, where is flows through the spectacular Gorge de Pierre Lys. (National championships are often held here in the summer). It flows through the winyards of the haute valleée of the Aude département to join the Canal du Midi at Carcassonne, reaching the Mediterranean Sea near Narbonne.

In the past it was critical for foestry (upstream of Quillan), Iron smelting and hat making (Espèraza ).

Publius Terentius Varro Atacinus (82 BC - c.35 BC) an early Roman poet, was born in the Province of Gallia Narbonensis, the southern part of Gaul with its capital at Narbonne, on the river Aude. His surname Atacinus (derived from Atax) indicates his birthplace.

The River Aude flowing through the town of EsperazaTributaries

  • Galbe
  • Bruyante
  • Rébenty
  • Aiguette
  • Salze
  • Sou

Towns along the river
Pyrénées-Orientales : Matemale, Formiguères
Ariège: Uson (Cathar Castle)
Aude: Axat, Quillan, Espèraza , Couiza, Limoux, Alet-les-Bains, Carcassonne

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The Aude