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Carcassonne

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Carcassonne is a city in south-west France.

Medieval Cite of Carcassonne at Night

Understand

Get in

By train

Carcassonne station on the Bordeaux / Sète and Carcassonne - Rivesaltes SNCF lines.

High speed TGV trains between Lille, Bruxelles, Dijon, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse call at Carcassone. Slower Corail Téoz between Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice and Paris towards Cerbère and Port-Bou (and overnight Corail Lunéa couchette trains between Paris and Cerbère / Port-Bou) also stop.

An extensive network of frequent, modern and comfortable regional services are provided by SNCF's TER Languedoc-Roussillon [1], with services to Toulouse, Narbonne, Marseille, Cerbère, Perpignan, Limoux and Quillan.

By plane

Carcassonne Airport (IATA: CCF) is 3km from the centre of Carcassonne. Ryanair [2] serve the airport to/from Brussels( Charleroi) Cork, Dublin, Nottingham, Glasgow (Prestwick), Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, London (Stansted), and Porto. A shuttle bus to the city centre via Chénier SNCF station (€5) meets every flight.

Get around

There is no left luggage at the train station.

You can leave your luggage at Hotel La Bastide Saint Louis (42 rue Barbes 11000 Carcassonne) for 1/2 day : €3 - Day : €5

Useful if you want visit Carcassonne city before your trip back from Carcassonne airport.

See

Historic fortress (built upon ruins predating Christianity). Carcassonne is an amazingly well preserved medieval fortress that was featured in the movie, Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves. Ville de Carcassonne is a beautiful castle and is the centerpiece of the medieval Carcassonne. It is a lovely place but can get very crowded at the height of the season.

Tours

Much to see in this somewhat neglected region of France. Get into the hills and visit little villages like Minerve. Try using the Michelin maps but forsake the red roads and take to the little white roads. You will be rewarded by seeing lovely little places that tour buses etc never visit.

Carcassonne can also be visited departing from Toulouse.

Do

Medieval jousting displays are held twice a day between the two walls. Whilst this may sound like a typical tourist activity, this is actually a very impressive and entertaining display of horsemanship and combative competition. Entry is €10 for adults as of Summer 2008 - certainly one of best €10 that we we spent on our Summer trip.

If you're up to it, the Torture Museum is also worth a visit. It's small but filled with torture instruments from the Middle Ages. Not for the squeamish!

Buy

Eat

The eating places get crowded and the prices charged can be a bit over the top. My advice is to eat away from the cite, perhaps in the lower town, or better in one of the enchanting villages away from Carcassonne. Cassoulet will fill you full of beans and sausage in addition to the meat in there!!

If you just wanna eat cheap, then the bars around the train station (La gare) should be good enough. There are also quite a few restaurants clustered around the main square in the Cite, the majority of which have outside tables so you can people-watch and enjoy the buzz of the square on a summers evening!

If your budget permits you, there are several excellent restaurants in the Cite, serving really good regional food. Among them are La Barbacane, Chez Saskia, Restaurant Comte Roger and the Brasserie le Donjon. These all serve divine food and the service is as you would expect - impeccable. As well as cassoulet, foie gras is a speciality of the region so expect it to be on most menus.

Drink

Sleep

Be careful to not get to the town late when your hotels are far away from the city centre, because it is difficult to get a taxi.

The hotels around the train station are convenient but better book it earlier in the high season.

  • Hotel de la Cite [3] is the most historical, luxurious, (and most expensive), hotel in Carcassonne. Operated by Orient Express Hotels.
  • Camping LA CITE by the river, overlooked by the castle, signposted from the town centre; well facilitated (tennis grounds and pool) with a path running into the city, does get fairly crowded in the summer. [4] (in french)

Get out



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