Carcassonne has an entire city that is a castle, in La Cite, the fortified upper city. These massive ramparts atop a hill provide broad views of the lower city below. In Carcassonne, visitors stroll along the cobblestone streets, browsing shops selling Medieval wares, or nibbling on the classic peasant stew cassoullet at various cafes.
The medieval walled city, standing on its hill and capped by pointed towers, is a wonder to behold. Once you have come to terms with the spectacle of its full size and have passed through the huge gates into the city itself, there is much to see. Through its maze of narrow cobbled streets lie an abundance of small shops selling a variety of hand made jewellery, leather goods and artwork. Hither and thither there are plenty of places to eat and drink. These vary from somewhere to grab a quick burger, to rather more romantic restaurants offering a chance to have a quiet, relaxed meal in a pretty courtyard setting.
In 1997, the city of Carcassonne was listed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in it’s World Heritage List as one of 28 sites in France. UNESCO says, the “Historic town of Carcassonne is an excellent example of a medieval fortified town whose massive defences were constructed on walls dating from Late Antiquity. It is of exceptional importance by virtue of the restoration work carried out in the second half of the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc, which had a profound influence on subsequent developments in conservation principles and practice”.
Today, the city of Carcassonne is Europe’s largest fortified citadel and an extremely popular place to visit. It is possible to pass several pleasant hours wandering the streets of the town exploring the exciting series of towers, turrets and ramparts, with fantastic views and countless photo-opportunities.
Road: The city is on the A-64 autoroute, 91 kilometres southeast of Toulouse, 61 kilometres west of Narbonne, and 113 kilometres from Perpignan.
Air: Carcassonne has its own small but efficient international airport with flights from the UK. The airport is called Carcassonne Pays Cathare Airport (until recently known as Carcassonne Salvaza Airport) and it is about 4 kilometres from the town. There is a regular connecting bus service. Alternatively there is a taxi rank outside the terminal building.
Rail: The town's railway station is in the lower town, alongside the Canal du Midi. Trains operate between Carcassonne city centre and Toulouse.
Carcassonne is located 90 km (56 miles) south-east of Toulouse.
Tel: +33 (0)4 68 10 24 30