the world's most spectacular roads

The Gorges de l'Aude are accessed to the south of Quillan, itself south of Carcassonne (Languedoc-Roussillon region) of France. Quillan itself is a pleasant town, but with little in the way of great monuments. It is however well placed to explore both the Cathars castles to the east and the dramatic gorges to the south. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

The road from Quillan to Axat passes through the deep gorge at Pierre-Lys, with cliffs either side of the road stretching to 700 metres in height. The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. Any barriers along the edge afford little more than token protection; large stretches should be taken at a snail's pace and a lookout kept for vehicles coming from the opposite direction!


Beyond Axat the route passes through the equally dramatic Gorges de Saint-Georges and Gorges de l'Aude. All three offer a very good opportunity to enjoy the landscape, either from the comfort of your car - it is said to be one of the most stunning drives in France - or as a starting point for walking and cycling in the region. Some vehicles drive very fast, and the main risk on this road is coming around a blind corner to discover a vehicle proceeding toward you at high speed. So, use caution and enjoy the magnificent scenery.


The narrowest and deepest stretch of the scenic Gorges de l'Aude is the eighteen or so kilometres between Axat and Usson. The road includes some steep sections, without market central lines, is very narrow, barely wide enough for 2 cars at the same time and it has not protections or guardrails. The surface of the road is asphalt.  If you want to admire the scenery, don't drive: the road is much too dangerous to allow your eyes to wander.




Michelle Scutt
+1 # Michelle Scutt 2014-05-08 18:35
Drove down through these with my compagnon (he drove) in a Morris Minor Traveller last weekend. I was totally blown away by the experience. David who lives near Toulouse had never even heard of them. The scale is really awesome, in all respects of the word. Try it if you get the chance, but be careful.
+1 # Hrvoje 2014-05-09 08:51
In September/October 2013 went on a 20days journey with my friends in a rented motorhome vehicle. This gorges gave us all lifetime memory, It was pure luck to get as we just wanted to go up in hills near Andora from Barcelona to Carcassone. It was dark when we ended here, 1am, can't see a thing in front, you just hear sounds of Aude river deep in the canyon which follows this road. The highlest moment was when we encountered a big Truck, we have to drive backwards 200-300meters, watching on ferocious rocks just few centimeters above our 2.70 heigh vehicle..it was tight, but it was wonderful ecperience! ;)