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[[Image:Carcassonne cite france.jpg|thumb|500px|Medieval Cité of Carcassonne at night]][[File:Carcassonne 4.jpg|thumb| 300px| The castle]] '''Carcassonne''' [] is a city in south-west [[France]].that is best known for its [[Image:Carcassonne cite france.jpg|thumb|500pxUnesco#France|Medieval Cite of Carcassonne at NightUNESCO World Heritage]]listed walled city. It can be visited comfortably as a day trip.
Restored Carcassonne is divided into two main parts: * The '''Cité de Carcassonne''', a medieval fortress settlement with a history that exceeds two and saved a half thousand years. Picturesque fortifications (over 3 km of walls with 52 towers, ''Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves'' was partly shot here) were reconstructed by Viollet-le-Duc, this beautifully walled city in 19th century (like with its pointed towers and gleaming walls most monuments reconstructed in that time authenticity was not the main objective). It is reminiscent of medieval tales of knights listed in shining armourthe [[Unesco#France|UNESCO World Heritage List]]. * The name is popularly derives from a legend that when the town was besiegedcentre, known as 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 ville basse'''carcas sona'' (ringing of the bells, in celebration of the wife, a Ms. Carsacliterally 'lower city'). In reality, though, where the town's name seems to descend from a 6th-century BC Celtic trading post called ''Carsac''other sights and hotels are located.
==Get in==
===By train===
Carcassonne railway station is situated on the [[Bordeaux]] - [[Sète]] and Carcassonne - [[Rivesaltes]] SNCF lines.
High speed '''TGV''' trains from [[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 [], with services to [[Toulouse]], [[Narbonne]], [[Marseille]], [[Cerbère]], [[Perpignan]], [[Limoux]] and [[Quillan]].
The train journey from [[Toulouse]] is around 1hr to 1hr 15min depending on the train type.
===By plane===
'''Carcassonne Airport''' (IATA: CCF) [] is located 3km from the centre of Carcassonne.
'''Ryanair''' [] serves the airport to/from [[Billund]], [[Bournemouth]], [[Brussels]]( [[Charleroi]]), [[Cork]], [[Dublin]], [[Eindhoven]], [[Glasgow]] (Prestwick), [[Liverpool]], [[London]] (Stansted), [[Nottingham]] (East Midlands airport) and [[Porto]].
A shuttle bus (''navette aéroport'' in French; 5€ per person) runs between the airport and Carcassonne town centre (SNCF railway station). Some shuttle buses (but not all) also stop at the Cité. The shuttle bus timetable is available at the airport website: []
A taxi between the airport and Carcassonne town centre costs around 10€ to 15€, whilst a taxi between the airport and the Cité costs around 15€ to 20€.
==Get around==
The Cité is around 20 minutes by foot from the railway station. The main tourist sights in Carcassonne are situated within easy walking distance of each other.
'''Tourist maps''' of Carcassonne are available from one of the three tourist information offices. There is one tourist information centre situated once you leave the railway station and cross the bridge, on the right hand side of the road near the junction between Boulevard Omer Sarraut and Avenue Mal Joffre. There are also tourist information centres in the Cité and in the town centre at 28 rue de Verdun.
'''Taxis''':There is a taxi stand outside the railway station. You can also book a taxi by phoning 04 68 71 50 50, which is the one single official hotline for booking all taxis in Carcassonne. For more information, visit the official website of the [ Association of Carcassonne Radio Taxis].
'''Left luggage''': There are no left luggage facilities at the train station. Some guidebooks suggest that you can leave your luggage at the Hotel La Bastide Saint Louis (42 rue Barbes 11000 Carcassonne; 3€ for 1/2 day and 5€ for 1 day), which is useful if you wish to visit Carcassonne before catching a flight from Carcassonne airport. This hotel, however, is either closed or relocated.
Historic * '''The Cité''': 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''. It is also told that the Cité inspired Walt Disney for the Castle of his Sleeping Beauty. Ville de  You can enter the Cité through one of its four gates: '''Porte Narbonnaise''' (see picture, common entrance when you arrive by car).  [[File:Carcassonne .France Entrance.jpg|thumb|Carcassonne.France Entrance]] The Cité is a beautiful castle und interesting place to visit. Strolling trough the medieval village with its tiny and is twisted alleys, the beautiful little Buildings next to impressive buildings like the centerpiece Basilique St-Nazaire, give you a hint of how life must have been. The inner detail-orientated arrangements transport the medieval charm and impress you at every other corner in this town. Make sure to walk with open eyes trough the alleys! [[File:Carcassonne. It is a lovely place but France CitéMédiévale.jpg|thumb|Carcassonne.France CitéMédiévale]] The '''Basilique St-Nazaire''' impresses especially with its enormous rose windows and the biggest organ of south France. Pope Urban V ordered the construction in 1096. [[File:Carcassonne.France BasiliqueSt-Nazaire.jpg|thumb|Carcassonne.France BasiliqueSt-Nazaire]] You can get very crowded at choose to walk the Cité on your own without paying entrance for most of the medieval city. You only have to pay to visit the height area of the '''Château Comtal''' (around 10€). Nearly 3 million tourists visit the the Cité of Carcassonne every year so it can get very busy in this little town. Peak seasonis from June to August.
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 [ Ophorus]to 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 €12 for adults as of Summer 2013 - certainly one of best €12 that 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!
There are regular '''barge trips''' along the historic Canal du Midi, and these are a very relaxing way of spending some time. The boats leave from the jetty just outside the main train station, and tickets can be bought from clearly signposted vendors at the canal-side (just beside the lock). Multilingual commentary is provided on the history of the canal and the various sights along the way.
'''Festival de Carcassonne''' is held in July and August [].
Around half of July there is huge firework show (second biggest in France).
The eating places get crowded Don't leave Carcassonne without trying '''cassoulet''', a local dish made of beans, sausage and duck. '''Foie gras''' is also a speciality of the prices charged can region, so expect it to be on many menus. There are bars around the train station (''la gare'') that offer cheap eats. There are a bit over few restaurants on rue Trivalle, the road that connects the town centre with the topCité. My advice is to eat away from '''Le Trivalou''' (69 rue Trivalle) has very friendly service and delicious home-made dishes, including cassoulet (16€). There are also quite a few restaurants clustered around the main square inside the Cité, the majority of which have outside tables so you can people-watch and enjoy the buzz of the citesquare on summer evenings! Budget permitting, perhaps in there are several excellent restaurants inside the lower townCité, serving really good regional food. Among them are '''La Barbacane''', '''Chez Saskia''', or better in one of '''Restaurant Comte Roger''' and the enchanting villages away from Carcassonne'''Brasserie le Donjon'''. Cassoulet will fill you full of beans These all serve divine food and sausage in addition to the meat in there!!service is, as you would expect, impeccable.
If you just wanna As Carcassonne can get quite touristy during the summer season, restaurants can become crowded and the prices charged can be a bit over the top. You may therefore wish to eat cheapaway from the Cité, then perhaps in the bars around town centre instead, or better in one of the train station ( Le gare)should be good enoughenchanting villages away from Carcassonne.
Regional wines.
Be careful to not get It is advisable to book earlier if visiting Carcassonne during the town late when your hotels are far away from high season.  * '''Hotel de la Cité''' [] is the city centremost historical, because it luxurious (and most expensive) hotel in Carcassonne. Operated by Orient Express Hotels. * '''Notre Dame de l'Abbaye''' [] offers moderately priced accommodation in a converted abbey building and is difficult to get a taxiconveniently situated just outside the Cité. Free wifi and friendly English-speaking reception staff.
The hotels around *'''Camping de la Cité''' [], route de St Hilaire. By the river, overlooked by the train station are convenient but better book it earlier castle, signposted from the town centre; well facilitated (tennis grounds and pool) with a path running into the city, does get fairly crowded in summer. Open April - October.*<sleep name="42 Rue Victor Hugo" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Three large contemporary suites on the high seasonfirst floor of an 18th century French townhouse with original features and soaring ceilings. Two minutes' walk from the central town square. </sleep>*<sleep name="La Petite Maison" alt="" address="in the heart of Bastide St Louis" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Snug townhouse sleeping two in the town centre dating back to 1624. Includes a roll top bath, walk-in shower and king-size bed. </sleep>
* '''Hotel de la Cite''' [] is the most historical, luxurious, (and most expensive), hotel in Carcassonne. Operated by Orient Express Hotels.
*'''Camping Domaine La Royale ''' by the river, overlooked by the castle, signposted from the town centre; well facilitated with a path running into the city, does get fairly crowded in the summer.
==Get out==
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