The medieval city of Carcassonne and its two listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Carcassonne boasts an excellent location in the south of France on the road to Lourdes, just 1hr from Toulouse and 3hr from Barcelona.
The medieval city of Carcassonne was built on the ruins of an old Roman fortress and found itself at the centre of the Albigensian Crusade in the 13C. After the settlements at the foot of the city were destroyed, King St Louis authorised the local inhabitants to build a new town in 1245. This became known as the Bastide Saint Louis.
Today, Carcassonne is renowned across the globe thanks to its two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Medieval City and the Canal du Midi.
Not to be missed
• The Medieval City with its 52 towers and 3km of ramparts.
• Basilique Saint Nazaire (11C-13C) and its stained-glass windows (12C-16C).
• The count’s castle (11C-13C) with its rampart walk, lapidary museum and model of the city.
• The old bridge, once the only link between the upper and lower towns.
• Bastide Saint Louis (13C) with its many town houses, Saint Michel cathedral, Saint Vincent church, the market hall and covered market, and Place Carnot, the site of the local market and a meeting point for locals.
• Canal du Midi, a major feat of engineering designed by Pierre Paul Riquet during the reign of Louis XIV (17C) to link the Mediterranean with the Atlantic.
• The many superb sites, such as abbeys and castles, of the Pays Cathare around Carcassonne.
• Wine estates just a stone’s throw from the medieval city where enthusiastic wine producers are happy to share their knowledge and expertise with visitors.
• Festival de Carcassonne (June-August): theatre, circus, opera, classical music, dance and concerts
Getting to Carcassonne
By train: Carcassonne railway station.
- Ryanair operates flights from Carcassonne to the following destinations: Paris, Belgium, Denmark, England, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland and Ireland.
- Toulouse airport (1hr from Carcassonne).
By car: Autoroute des Deux Mers motorway (A 61), RN 113 - D 118.