Carcassonne is a city in south-west France.
Restored and saved by Viollet-le-Duc, this beautifully walled city with its pointed towers and gleaming walls is reminiscent of medieval tales of knights in shining armour. The name derives from a legend that when the town was besieged, the mayor's wife had a pig force fed with the last of their grain and thrown over the parapets so that the enemy would think they had plenty of food and could withstand the siege; depending on who you ask, the name is then either from the French carcase sonne (carcass sound) or the Latin carcas sona (ringing of the bells, in celebration of the wife, a Ms. Carsac). In reality, though, the town's name seems to descend from a 6th-century BC Celtic trading post called Carsac.
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.
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. Visit the website Ophorusto see all the tours that take place in this region. Day tours include mysterious Rennes le Château for the Da Vinci Code fans, Limoux and its famous Blanquette sparkling wine as well as wine tasting in the Corbières or Minervois vineyards. We also organise individual or group tours of the cité with fully licensed guides.
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.
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.
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.