Airport shuttle bus.
The airport shuttle bus parks outside the arrivals gate, and is a useful way to get to Carcassonne. It costs 5 euro one-way, and goes up to La Cite. The driver will ask for your hotel name and will drop you at a nearby stop. The bus times link in with the Ryanair flights, but the bus back is a bit late if you want to check-in really early (it arrives about an hour before take-off).
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The only way to visit all these places and more is by car. You can reach the main cities like Carcassonne or Narbonne by public transport but the other places are too off the beatten path.
There is no public transport between Fontfroide Abbey and Narbonne (the nearest city).
Foix is the nearest city to Montségur. You can arrive to Foix by train.
Fly back in time
The best way to get to Carcassonne is by Ryanair. There are flights from Londen (Stasted) and Charleroi (in Belgium; south of Brussels). If you are a lucky (or patient, or just fast enough), you should be able to find a very cheap flight.
The airport is not very far from the city center. You can take a shuttle (for 5 euros at the time), but we shared a taxi for the same price per person - and got comfortably delivered right at the front door of the hotel...
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getting from the train station to the citadel
The best way to get from the train station to Carcassonne is by taxi. We were staying in a hotel within the citadel, and the taxi delivered us right to the door of the hotel. It was an interesting ride, with the taxi winding its way through the narrow cobblestone roads.
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No bus on Sundays in Carcassonne!
The lady at the tourist booth in the airport forgot it was sunday, gave us a bus schedule, and circled the time for the next bus and pointed out to the place to wait, half and hour later, we were told by other passengers the bus don't run on sundays. The wait for the taxi was quite long, maybe also due to Sunday? A nice ride to our hotel next to the Cite from the airport was 14 Euro.
Take the train
"Le Petit Train" takes you around the outside of the Cite walls, and through the small, ancient village of Carcassonne, just outside it's gates, it slowly moves it's way round, giving some great views of the Fortress. You can get a true feeling of just how magnificent a fortress it is, it's amazing how anyone managed to penetrate it's walls. Some of the paths are quite steep at times so hold on.
2009 prices for an adult was €7 €4 for children.
You can catch the train, just out side the main gate.
Carcassonne-Limoux-Quillan Train line
One of the best possible bargains you can imagine!
If you are exploring the area known as Cathar Country on public transport, you will have plenty of money left over for other things. The train line between Carcassonne-Limoux-Quillan will cost you a grand total of 1 Euro. Yes folks, ONE EURO, you are reading it correctly.
Are there catches or hidden fees?
For that price they must be crappy old trains..
Actually the trains are modern, comfortable with big windows and great seats
The route is:
Carcassonne, Couffoulens - Leuc, Verzeille, Pomas, Limoux-Flassian, Limoux, Alet-les-Bains, Couiza-Montazels, Espéraza, Campagne, Quillan.
It will take you about half an hour from Carcassonne to Limoux, another 40 minutes to the end of the line in Quillan. Part of the portion from Limoux onwards is being replaced with bus service, but the trip was great just the same.
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If you are visiting Carcassonne to go to the Cité Médiévale, don’t worry about transport…..it only takes 20 minutes from the Gare de Cracassonne to the Cité Médiévale by foot….
If you insist on taking a taxi, there are some outside the train station (Gare) but I really saw many at the Bd Omer Sarraut, one block down from the station.
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AggloBus from airport to city centre and La Cite
We used the AggloBus airport shuttle bus when we arrived at Carcassonne airport in June 2013.
Carcassonne's airport is located fairly close to the city centre (only 3 or 4 kilometers away), so getting into town is straightforward and relatively cheap. We could have walked from the airport to the city centre in less than an hour had we so wished!
We had read before our trip that a taxi between the airport and the city centre would cost around 12 Euros, while the AggloBus would cost 5 Euros per person. As there were only two of us, it was slightly cheaper to catch the bus rather than to take a taxi. If you're travelling as a party of 3 or 4 it would be cheaper to take a taxi.
The AggloBus buses operate on a schedule that is tied in to flight arrival and departure times. There is a bus which departs the airport a short time (30 minutes or so) after every flight arrival and a bus which arrives at the airport in line with each departing flight.
We caught a bus at around 10:20am on a Saturday morning following our flight from East Midlands airport. The same bus was operating on a loop which would see it arrive back at the airport in time for a flight that was departing for Liverpool.
The airport buses leave from right outside the terminal building and tickets are purchased from the driver upon boarding the bus. There is an undercarriage for storing suitcases.
The bus operates on the following route: Airport – Railway Station – City Centre – Hotels (upon request) – La Cite (the Medieval City).
As we boarded the bus, the driver asked us where we were staying. We told him that we were staying at Adonis Residence la Barbacane (at the foot of La Cite) and the driver subsequently dropped us off at the most convenient place (on the main road close to Pont Neuf) and gave us directions for the short walk to our hotel.
The journey time from the airport to the railway station was around 15 minutes. We waited there for 5 minutes or so as further passengers (heading for the Liverpool flight) boarded and then continued towards La Cite, arriving at our drop off point between 5 and 10 minutes later.
Unfortunately, the buses back to the airport at the end of our stay weren't quite so convenient. Our flight departed at around 10:15am on a Monday morning. There were two buses that we could have caught for this flight. The first one (which stopped at the bus stop at which we had alighted upon arrival and was designed for an earlier flight than ours) would arrive at the airport at 7:15am. We knew that this would be too early; Carcassonne is a tiny airport and 3 hours would be far too long to wait there. The second bus was more suitably timed (it was specifically for our flight); it left the train station at 8:40am and would arrive at the airport at 8:50am. Unfortunately, it was a direct bus and didn't stop at the bus stop close to our hotel. We would therefore have had to carry our luggage to the railway station, some 25-30 minutes walk away.
In light of the above issues with the buses, we decided that it would be better to take a taxi to the airport, especially given the small price difference. We asked the receptionist at our hotel how much a taxi should cost and she said "no more than 20 Euros". This was more than the 12 Euros we were expecting (La Cite is further away from the airport than the city centre is), but we asked her to book a taxi for us for 8:30am regardless. The taxi arrived bang on time and delivered us to the airport in around 10 minutes. The meter started at 2 Euros and the final fare was 14.40 Euros.
Taxi from near La Cite to the airport
During our visit to Carcassonne in June 2013, my girlfriend and I used the AggloBus airport shuttle bus to transport us from the airport to our hotel (close to La Cite) at the beginning of our stay. The bus tickets cost us 5 Euros each and, as there were only two of us, this worked out cheaper than the estimated taxi fare of around 12 Euros.
We would have caught the bus back to the airport at the end of our stay, but this proved to be inconvenient for us. Despite the fact that two buses were advertised as serving our flight, neither was ideal for us. The first one would have seen us arrive at the airport 3 hours before our departure time (far too long for a tiny airport like Carcassonne), while the second one was a direct bus from the train station to the airport and didn't stop at the bus stop closest to our hotel. Faced with a 25-30 minute walk to the train station (with luggage in tow), we decided that we'd be better off spending slightly more and taking a taxi to the airport.
We asked the receptionist at our hotel (Adonis Residence la Barbacane) how much a taxi should cost and she said "no more than 20 Euros". This was more than the 12 Euros we were expecting to pay (although La Cite is slightly further away from the airport than the city centre is, so we weren't too surprised), but we asked her to book a taxi for us for 8:30am regardless. The taxi arrived bang on time and delivered us to the airport in around 10 minutes. The meter started at 2 Euros and the final fare turned out to be 14.40 Euros which we thought was acceptable.
Getting a Taxi
Taxis from the train station:
There is a taxi spot marked just outside the entrance to the train station. If you are willing to wait, a taxi will eventually show up.
Taxis from the old city:
There is a taxi spot marked just outside the entrance to the old city (near the bus stops). I got the ladies at the information booth (just inside the main entrance) to call me a taxi, and then waited at the taxi spot.
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By Car: How Far/How Long...?
Some road distances to Carcassonne from:
- Madrid (Spain): 900 kms.
- San Marino: 1.076 kms.
- Varna (Bulgaria): 2.633 kms.
- Moscow (Russia):3.664 kms.
Checking the website, you’ll find more road distances together with the driving times and the best routes.
There is a parking area in front of the main entrance of the Cité but you have to pay. However, it is free after 8 p.m. (at least it was in October '09), so, if you want to visit the Cité in the evening, you can wait until that time.
Obviously, if your accommodation is far from it and you need to go by car.
Buses from train station to old city
On Sundays the regular shuttle bus does not run between the train station and the old city.
To get a taxi from the old city go to the information desk near the entrance and they will happily call one.
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Carcassonne Airport Bus
Get the bus from the airpot into Carcassonne it's quick and cheaper than a taxi. Because it's not a very busy airport the bus timetable is tailored to fit in with most arrivals/departures.
The best stop to get/on off at is probably Square Gambetta right in the centre of town.
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