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Languedoc-Roussillon : Aude : Carcassonne
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Carcassonne [1] is a city in south-west France.

Medieval Cite of Carcassonne at Night


Carcassonne is divided into two parts:

  • Medieval fortress Cité de Carcassonne, settlement with history that exceeds two and 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 in 19th century (like with most monuments reconstructed in that time authenticity was not the main objective). It is listed on UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Lower city, the ville basse where other sights and hotels are located.

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 [2], 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 [3] 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.


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.


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!

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 [4]. Around half of July there is huge firework show (second biggest in France).



Don't leave Carcassonne without trying cassoulet, a local dish made of beans, sausage and duck. Foie gras is also a speciality of the 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 few restaurants on rue Trivalle, the road that connects the town centre with the Cite. 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 square on summer evenings!

Budget permitting, there are several excellent restaurants inside the Cité, 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 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 away from the Cité, perhaps in the town centre instead, or better in one of the enchanting villages away from Carcassonne.


Regional wines.


Be careful to not get to the town late when your hotel is 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 earlier in high season.

  • Hotel de la Cite [5] is the most historical, luxurious, (and most expensive), hotel in Carcassonne. Operated by Orient Express Hotels.
  • Camping de la Cité [6], route de St Hilaire. 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 summer. Open April - October.

Get out

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