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Bages... a beautiful secret of the Aude

The Aude is often overlooked as a beauty spot in favour of its more glamorous neighbours, but anyone who explores this department will find it has some wonderful countryside, some historic towns and some gorgeous, authentic villages. Bages is one of these lovely, very genuine villages. Essentially a fishing community, being set on the edge of the lagoon known as the Étang de Bages beside the Mediterranean Sea, tourism is now becoming more evident, but the village remains unspoiled and beautiful with a very real community life.

Light fantastic

Bages benefits from a particularly lovely clarity of light, which not only brings to life the vibrant colours of the houses, the trees, the lagoon and the sky, but which also attracts artists and photographers to settle and work here, or at the very least to spend time here recording the glories of Bages for posterity. Bages has sunshine in plenty, but there are some pretty shady corners too where you can rest, cool off and enjoy watching a very Mediterranean life pass by.

Shops and restaurants

For all its diminutive size, Bages has quite a bit to offer in terms of local shops, services and, best of all, restaurants. The narrow streets of the village wind beguilingly about, climbing and falling, twisting and turning, leading you to discover with pleasure the pretty restaurants, shops, art galleries and cafés that tuck themselves away in the folds of the ancient buildings. It goes without saying that in the cafés and restaurants of Bages you must try the seafood... and the local wines! The big and buzzing town of Narbonne is close to hand should you require big shops and supermarkets.

Out and about

With this lovely stretch of the Med at your disposal, getting out and about is a must. You will find yourself spoiled for choice. You have the charm of the Étangs, with their abundant wildlife (including the very pinkest of flamingoes!), the fun of the Med beaches and coastal towns, the tranquillity of the old villages and the vibrant activity of the resort towns, all on offer. Here you can find the history and the mystery of the Cathars, or the modern sophistication of places such as Cap d'Agde. The choice is yours.

Sports on offer

There are as many sporting possibilities as there are cultural ones here too, with sea and beach sports available, horse-riding, golf, tennis, petanque and more all found close to Bages.

How to get there

It is remarkably inexpensive and easy to get to Bages from the UK, thanks in particular to the budget airlines who serve the local airports. Ryanair fly into Carcassonne, Montpellier, Nîmes and Perpignan (Perpignan is also served by bmibaby and flybe), while Toulouse is served by easyJet, flybe, bmi, Jet2 and British Airways. If you are not keen on flying, it's good to know that trains also run to the area, with Narbonne having a TGV station making rail travel all the way from the UK swift and straightforward. Drivers can access Bages easily from the A9 auto route.

Property prices and availability in and around Bages

Prices of property on the Med are never low, and Bages is no exception. It does, however, still represent good value within this context. It can be difficult to find property within the old village itself, but around and about there are some good bargains to be found if you are seeking a holiday studio or a small apartment.

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Bages is located in the south of France, on the Mediterranean coast. It lies in the north-east of the Aude department.

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Population: 755

Access: By air: Fly to Carcassonne, Montpellier, Perpignan or Nîmes. By rail: The TGV runs to Narbonne which is nearby. By road: The A9 auto route will get you very close to Bages.

Economy: The economy is based on fishing and, more recently, tourism.

Interesting fact: Bages is set on the Étang de Bages, an inland sea that is separated from the Mediterranean by a thin strip of land. It provides a rich natural environment for all manner of flora and fauna, and is a great source of fish and shellfish.


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