Pays Cathare

La Dolce Vita's home, the department of the Aude, sits within the Pays Cathare.  A rich region that encompasses many historical and tourist sites, including the medieval city of Carcassonne, which is within easy reach.  The area has many destinations that are great day trips and adventures to have:

  • The Canal-du-Midi is ever present and runs through Beziers to Carcassonne. You can admire the original commercial canal barges (peniches) as you cycle the towpath passing through small villages, vineyards and canal locks with interesting .
  • Carcassonne, the site of one of the last standing medieval cities, is just 34km away from the comfort of your guest house. There are many cultural festivals, markets and fairs present throughout the year in the city's modern 'centre ville' as well.
  • Narbonne, a proud little city, features the Canal Robine connecting the Canal-du-Midi to the Mediterranean Sea, where peniches & pleasure boats are a visual delight. Narbonne also offers a daily open-air market, and twice a week closes off the main streets to more crafts and local products. The center of town opens its doors to the magnificent Archeveques Cathedral, and literally opens its street to the historical Roman road in the main plaza, only 30 km away.
  • Gruissan, just 15 minutes past Narbonne, offers its Mediterranean beaches and well-known salt flats where tours are available and the excellent sea salt can be purchased. 
  • If olive oil and quaint villages are your pleasure, be sure and take a guided tour through the Oulibo olive oil factory and its host town, Bize-Minervois situated along the river Orbieu. Bize can be reached via a variety of routes from Azille, each one a treat in itself.
  • If history of the Cathares is your interest, make sure and visit the town of Minerve, sitting atop a ledge between two riverbeds, a 15 minute drive from La Dolce Vita - not to be missed!
  • Another medieval village, this time hidden away in the valley surrounded by Corbière vineyards, is the village of Lagrasse, with its Abbey, ancient monuments and tiny streets filled with artisans' crafts.  Accessible from Azille via Lezignan-Corbières, its a great route for motorbiking.
  • On the way to Narbonne, the Roman ruins of the Oppidum Enserune can be found near the Canal du Midi and gives way to many unanswered questions of the history that took place there.
  • Along the way, in any direction, there are stops and visits that will also fill your day: Fontfroide Abbey, the African reserve in Sigean, hikes in the Black mountains, as well as wine tasting and local cuisine, cultural events, and so much more!