Open main menu

AUDE, a southern department of France, forming part of the old province of Languedoc, bounded on the E. by the Mediterranean, N. by the departments of Herault and Tarn, N.W. by Upper Garonne, W. by Ariege, and S. by that of Eastern Pyrenees. It lies between lat. 4.2 40 and 34 30 N., and is 80 miles in length from E. to W., and 60 miles in breadth from N. to S. Area, 2341 square miles. The department of Aude is traversed on its western boundary from S. to N. by a mountain range of medium height, which unites the Pyrenees with the Southern Cevennes ; and its northern frontier is occupied by the Black Mountains, the most western part of the Cevennes chain. The Corbieres, a branch of the Pyrenees, runs in a S.W. and N.E. direction along the southern district. The Aude, its principal river, has almost its entire course in the department. Its principal affluents on the left are the Fresquel, Orbiel, Argent-Double, and Cesse; on the right, the Guette, Salse, and Orbieu. The canal of Lan guedoc, which unites the Atlantic with the Mediterranean, traverses the department from E. to "W. The lowness of the coast causes a series of large lagunes, the chief of which are those of Bages, Sigean, Narbonne, Palme, and Leucate. The climate is variable, and often sudden in its alterations. The wind from the N.W., known as the Cers, blows with great violence, and the sea breeze is often laden with pesti lential effluvia from the lagunes. Various kinds of wild animals, as the chamois, bear, wild boar, wolf, fox, and badger, inhabit the mountains and forests ; game of all kinds is plentiful ; and the coast and lagunes abound in fish. Mines of iron, copper, lead, manganese, cobalt, and antimony exist in the department ; and, besides the beauti ful marbles of Cascastel and Caunes, there are quarries of lithographic stone, gypsum, limestone, and slate. The coal mines are for the most part abandoned. The moun tains contain many mineral springs, both cold and thermal. The agriculture of the department is in a very flourishing condition. The meadows are extensive and well watered, and are pastured by numerous flocks and herds. The grain produce, consisting mainly of wheat, oats, rye, and Indian corn, considerably exceeds the consumption, and the vine yards yield an abundant supply of both white and red wines. Olives and almonds are also extensively cultivated, and the honey of Aude is much esteemed. Besides impor tant manufactures of woollen and cotton cloths, combs, jet ornaments, and casks, there are paper-mills, distilleries, tanneries, and extensive iron and salt works. The chief town is Carcassonne, and the department is divided into the four arrondissements of Carcassonne, Limoux, Nar bonne, and Castelnaudary. Population in 1872, 285,927.