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Aude (river) facts for kids

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Carcassonne JPG01.jpg
The Aude at Carcassonne
Aude (flume).png
The Aude river (blue lines) in the Aude department (with red lines)
Native name L'Aude
Countries France
Physical characteristics
Main source Les Angles, Lac d'Aude, Massif du Carlit, Pyrénées, France
2,136 m (7,008 ft)
River mouth Fleury/Vendres, France, Mediterranean Sea
0 m (0 ft)
Length 224.1 km (139.2 mi)
Basin features
Basin size 6,074 square kilometres (2,345 sq mi) total and 4,900 square kilometres (1,900 sq mi) above Coursan
  • Left:
    the Cesse, the Fresquel, the Orbiel, the Argent-Double, the Trapel, the Sou de Val de Daigne
  • Right:
    the Orbieu, the Sals, the Lauquet

The Aude is a river of southern French. It starts in the Pyrénées mountains and ends in the Mediterranean Sea. The Aude department is named after this river.

In Roman times, the Aude was called Atax by the Romans. In all likelihood the current name comes from gradual changes of Atax, a word borrowed from the Celtic atacos meaning "spirited" or "very fast"


The Aude has a length of 224 km (139.2 mi), and a drainage basin with an area of approximately 6,074 km2 (2,345 sq mi).

Its average yearly discharge (volume of water which passes through a section of the river per unit of time) is 41.40 cubic metres per second at Moussan.


The Aude starts in the Massif of Carlit at the Lac d'Aude at an elevation of 2,180 metres (7,150 ft) in the commune of Les Angles (Pyrénées-Orientales department).

From the Pyrénées to Carcassonne, the river flows generally from south to north and then turns to the east. The river then flows into the Mediterranean Sea a few kilometres from Narbonne at Grau de Vendres (near Cabanes-de-Fleury) on the border between the departments of Aude and Hérault.

The Aude flows through 1 region, 4 departments and 75 communes. The main communes are:

Main tributaries

The main tributaries (30 km  or more long) of the Aude river are:

  • Left tributaries
    • Rébenty - 33.6 km;
    • Sou - 29.5 km;
    • Fresquel - 63 km;
    • Orbiel - 40.9 km;
    • Argent-Double - 37.4 km;
    • Cesse - 53.5 km;
  • Right tributaries
    • Lauquet - 36.6 km;
    • Orbieu - 84.1 km;


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