The village of Sallèles d’Aude itself has a good range of services – bakeries for good French bread, restaurants, supermarket, pharmacy, bar, newsagent, ATM, petrol station, hairdresser, post office.
Walking, cycling (bikes available to hire locally), boating, watching the world go by in this and the surrounding canalside villages.
Fishing in the Aude or the Canal. Horse riding; tennis; boules (but of course).
Visits to Amphoralis (Roman Pottery Museum).
Within 35 mins of LVB:
Narbonne – a lovely old town, with a cathedral, good museums, shopping and eating, including the stunning covered food market (Les Halles).
The Mediterranean for windsurfing, kite-surfing, land-yachting, lovely safe open sandy beaches, as well as more horse riding, and go-karting.
The limestone outcrop of La Clape with its renowned vineyards, rock climbing, rugged walking, and good mountain biking.
Under an hour from LVB:
Carcassonne – amazing Disneyesque UNESCO World
Béziers - known for the flight of 9 locks on the Canal
(Ecluses de Fonserannes), also its 13th century
cathedral 'with attitude', the site of infamous Cathar
atrocities (Simon de Montfort’s statement of ‘Kill them
all, God will recognise his own’). Window-shop
through the lovely little back-streets, stop for a drink
on the Allée Paul Riquet, and visit the must-see
flower market on a Friday.
Perpignan – the French heart of Catalonia, Rugby (USAP and Catalan Dragons), Palais des Rois de Majorque - basically history in bucket-loads.
Canoeing - white water fun on the River Orb at Cessenon and Roquebrun.
Golf courses – Carcassonne and Beziers – not forgetting the championship Pitch & Putt in Narbonne!
Further afield but generally less than two hours:
Many historical sites, included the Cathar castles of Peyrepertuse, Queribus and Puylaurens amongst others; learn about the Knights Templar, the mysteries of Rennes-le-Château, and Bugarach.
Castelnaudary, famed for its Cassoulet (a slow-cooked rich casserole with duck, white haricot beans, country sausage).
The villages of the rugged Côte Vermeille - Collioure, Port Vendres and Banyuls.
In the Hérault - Pezenas, Cap d’Agde, Marseillan (home of Noilly Prat Vermouth) and the busy port of Sète.
Heading south towards Spain, La Jonquera and Le Perthus for cheap drinks and smokes; art history in Ceret (Musée d’Art Moderne) then on to Figueres and Port Lligat for Salvador Dali’s Museum and summer home.
The Millau viaduct, designed by Sir Norman Foster, the highest bridge in the world (as we went to press), and very well worth the detour.
Toulouse - la ville rose (the pink town) – home of Airbus and a big rugby stronghold!!
And finally, around 3 hours away:
Andorra, in the heart of the Pyrenees, for more duty-free shopping – and
good skiing in winter with your hosts Nick and Isobel.