Carcassonne Travel Guide

  • Carcassonne
    by J_Antunes
  • Carassonne old town walls.
    Carassonne old town walls.
    by kenliverpooluk
  • Abbaye de St Hilaire (France)
    Abbaye de St Hilaire (France)
    by Redang

Carcassonne Highlights

  • Pro
    Aleyd profile photo

    Aleyd says…

     Beautiful views up to city walls at night. Can walk everywhere (in, on and around walls and city). 

  • Con
    Peter_P profile photo

    Peter_P says…

     Sometimes too many people in summer... 

  • In a nutshell
    LizC profile photo

    LizC says…

     Magnificent medieval city still inhabited to this day! 

Carcassonne Things to Do

  • Basilique St Nazaire

    The Cathedral in the Cite within the Castle walls is a wonderful church with lots of goth, stained glass, wild water spouts and fine sculptures. The cathedral as it stands dates from the 11th Century, however, there is evidence of a church on this spot as far back as the 6th-7th Century. Some of the tombs are dated as far back as 1266.

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  • Walking

    I was staying nearby so i had to take this road to get home anyway. There is a lovely little park and a nice trail to walk You are far enough away from the cite that you can get a good shot, but its not entirely unobstructed. On this side of the river (bastide side) you are likely to meet just locals walking this path, peoeple out for an evening...

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  • Chateau Comtal

    Through another archway and across a second dr moat is the 12th century Château Comtal. Chateau Comtal was built in the 12th-century by Bernard Aton Trencavel. Chateau Comtal was originally the palace of the viscounts but was later converted to a citadel after Carcassonne became part of the royal estate in 1226.

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Carcassonne Hotels

Carcassonne Restaurants

  • Good value set menus on Place Marcou

    During our visit to Carcassonne in June 2013, my girlfriend and I often found ourselves heading towards Place Marcou (a bustling cobbled square in the heart of La Cite) whenever we were ready to eat.Place Marcou is filled with restaurants, each one with outside tables spilling onto the square. Although it is undoubtedly a touristy location, it also...

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  • Drive along the Canal du Midi and stop...

    This is a bit further from Carcassonne but worth the trip and a delightful drive along the Canal du Midi. If the day is pleasant, you can sit outside and watch the canal boats go slowly by and see people and bicycles on the adjacent canal path.There is no more perfect way to enjoy a delightful lunch on a sunny afternoon . . . and if it's raining,...

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  • Pleasant and private restaurant

    Update: Brasserie le Donjon added a new terrasse in May of 2012 if you enjoy eating al fresco.We first ate at Brasserie le Donjon in 2000 when we were visiting with our oldest daughter. She and I were looking for cassoulet and it was on the outside posted menu. We went in and ordered it and were most pleased.Hence, when looking for a restaurant on...

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Carcassonne Nightlife

  • This seemed to be it

    OMG - did the streets in Carcassonne roll up after 9 PM or what. The Cite, the Lower Town, it did not seem to matter. There were some lights on and people milling at a hotel/hostal by the Old Stone Bridge on the East side of the Aude River. but other than that, the place was dead.....I guess you could always spend an evening staring at the Castle....

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  • Walk the Cite

    The main reasons for spending one or more nights inside the Cite are to eat a dinner with cassoulet and then walk it off seeing the town after dark when its medieval feel is unimpeded. The fortifications after dark are minimally lit and hopefully there will be a clear and moonlit night. The fortifications are more impressive this way: the Narbonne...

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  • Simply Magical

    Carcassonne at night is simply magical. All of the outer walls are floodlit, and look as if they are bathed in golden light. Before going to Carcassonne I was concerned about the safety of a single woman walking around at night. When I went in August 2005 there were lots of couples and groups walking around after sunset. I felt perfectly safe...

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Carcassonne Transportation

  • SNCF

    We took the train from Toulouse for our day trip. TGV in one direction. A regional express going back. Both were on time and comfortable. Journey times were about the same - 40 minutes - so I’m guessing it isn’t a special TGV track on that route. It cost about €40 each, but we bought our tickets just before we left and I suspect it would have saved...

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  • 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...

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  • 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...

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Carcassonne Shopping

  • Souvenir - medieval weaponry

    Although this city is one of France's top tourist destinations, drawing an average of three million visitors yearly, it mostly attracts Europeans, so it can feel especially exotic. Some describe it as a tourist-trap, and there are a bit too many shops hawking tacky souvenirs, but it is still and enchanting and interesting place to visit. Knifes,...

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  • Hand cream and soap shop.

    After we arrived in the early morning, it was off to explore the biggest fortified city in Europe, Carcassonne. Although dating from the time of Charlemagne, it has been extensively restored and looks imposing and magnificent. You can walk along the ramparts, visit the Chateau Comptal, shop in the boutiques lining the cobbled streets, visit...

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  • Medieval Tourist Shop

    OK, so you are wondering where all those kids running around with wooden swords, foam head bonkers, princess outfits and other touristy medieval goods, well in the NW section of the Cite, there is the shop l'Epoque Medieval where you can get all this stuff and more. Considering I was there in the off season, and there were still many boys charging...

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Carcassonne Local Customs

  • Sunflowers

    I got to Languedoc in late September. One the train toward Carcassonne you could see fields of sunflowers. By late September there wasn't much color left and the flowers were past peak bloom. I was told that if i I had come in early September I would have been treated to a visual spectacle with the sunflowers!The farmers will grow the sunflowers,...

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  • Talko to someone who knows ...

    I guess we all agree on this on; there is nothing more exciting than going travelling - exploring another country, experiencing a different culture, travelling around in new ways, sampling the local cuisine and chatting to the local people for a different perspective on life.However during our travels we learned that there is one certain thing that...

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  • Le Citee

    Well, what can I say? Every once in a while, we drive to Carcassone for 1-2 nights and we ALWAYS go back to the Medieval Castle. Just to get away from Barcelona, go window shopping, have a meal (or 2).We have been to the new part of the City and even have done a Winery Route with our car and a Monastery (Northbound), but we always leave with the...

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Carcassonne Warnings and Dangers

  • West side of Castle at night

    You can approach the Castle from any side, the primary entrance being on the well-lighted East side. However, if you approach the castle from the West side in the evening the lighting is not very good and the steps and walkways are degraded. Thus it is easy to slip, mis-step and twist and ankle.

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  • If you are a castle mouse

    In the game of "cat and mouse" (and I don't think the mice population define this as a game), this stealthy feline found a playmate at the base of the castle walls. Yes, that is a live Mickey in his mouth.

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  • Reading a map!

    Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, the catchy title of the 1992 bestseller by John Gray, succinctly expresses an ancient dilemma. What--if anything--do men's and women's brains do differently?The general statement that men and women respond and behave differently under the same circumstances is true; For example, from the crib, male babies...

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Carcassonne Tourist Traps

  • Château Comtal - An one hour walk.

    The medieval city of Carcassonne is situated on a highpoint overlooking the Aude river. It's generally known for its fortified medieval town, but we ended up at the Château Comtal. Our walk over the defensive structure, the towers, inner courts, the museum (the Centre for National Monuments) and of course the unavoidable souvenir shop took us a bit...

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  • Château Comtal - The outer ramparts.

    When we were inside the Château Comtal we first had a good look at the main plaza and saw that castle is joined with the outer ramparts. The Cité's outer ramparts, complete with turrets, towers, and crenellations, were built during the reign of Louis IX. His son, Philip III, continued the work and he also added a main gate, called the Porte...

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  • Château Comtal - Count’s Castle.

    To us Carcassonne was just one of those must see places. We knew that the medieval city of Carcassonne was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Whenever we arrived we saw that the amazing fortifications of the medieval city of Carcassonne kept the marks of 1000 years of military architecture and of 2600 years of History. We entered the city...

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Carcassonne What to Pack

  • My guide books in Carcassonne

    Here are my guide books that provided me details about a geographic location, tourist attractions, or most interesting itineraries in Carcassonne.Casa Editrice Bonechi – Italy. “The Golden Book”. Carcassonne. 1993, 64 pages.France. Le Petit Fute. Michel Strogoff & Ass., City-Guides, Country-Guides, Paris-Luxemburg-Moscow. 1999, 64 pages.France....

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  • Rugged Boots

    If you are going into the country to visit the Cathar sites, especially LasTours where the climb is significant and the trail rocky with loose material, I strongly suggest a sturdy set of hiking boots.

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  • Travel light!

    * Map and guidebook;* Crackers;* 2 Liter of water;* Fruit / power bars. * Hiking boots;* 1 extra t-shirt;* Shorts with many pockets;* Sunglasses;* Fleece type jacket;* Hat / cap;* Raincoat. * Lip balm;* (Neck) sunblock;* Band-aids. * Camera and lots of films!* Filter;* Extra batteries;* Lens 210 mm. * Binocular;* Compass.

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Carcassonne Off The Beaten Path

  • Statue of Armand Barbes

    You will find this statue on Avenue Barbes(1809-1870), basically right outside of the Jacobin Gate to the Bastide. The backdrop is quite impressive, so I had thought this might be a founder of the city or one of its leading lights. It is, to an extent. Armand Barbes was the son of a military surgeon in Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. His father, was...

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  • Notre Dame de la Sante

    This little chapel, which was built in the early 1300's at the foot of the Pont Vieux used to be part of Carcassonne's first hospital. My understanding is that it was originally built as a chapel for the hospital for pilgrims, which was later a plague hospital. Most people will walk right by since it is very small and they are in a hurry to finally...

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  • A Walk along the River Aude - 7kms (90...

    Get out of the city and take a really nice walk along the river Aude. It's good exercise and it's free. 7 kms or 90 mins.Start your walk in front of the Hotel des Trois Couronnes on the Bastide side of the Pont Vieux.Follow the river bank path which takes gives you views across the river towards La Cite. The path passes in front of some houses and...

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Carcassonne Sports & Outdoors

  • Hiking - The streets wind and wander.

    Take time to meander - losing yourself in the maze of alleys, streets and lanes is one of Carcassonne's principal pleasures. Throughout the hike we saw the curious mixture of architectural styles left by the previous inhabitants of the citadel - Venetians, Roman and Spanish. The streets wind and wander with no discerrible order or object....

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  • Hiking - The best way to explore...

    The compact town of Carcassonne is easy to get around, and the ideal place to explore on foot. Carcassonne is France, and yet it is a culture unto itself. Historical buildings to stroll around include the 6th century basilica, numerous squares, elegant houses and the charming cobbled streets reveal delights at every turn. Time to explore it!We can...

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  • Hiking - Our 'game plan' strategy.

    Most people try to rush Carcassonne on a budget so they end up missing some of the highlights in a whirlwind. The key to seeing Carcassonne probably is a game plan, you must know what you want to see before setting out. For example: we wanted to see the Castle and Ramparts and planned our hike in eastern part of this citadel around it. Starting at...

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Carcassonne Favorites

  • A planning resource with your...

    When planning for a visit to Carcassonne, the guidebooks tend not to give you a great deal of information beyond visiting the castle.If you have an Ipad/Iphone I found a great resource that helped to offer more details. This tool was valuable in planning my stay in Carcassonne. I would definitely recommend it.It comes in two flavors, the lite...

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  • The Castle was not built on a hill for...

    If you have one place to go in Carcassonne besides the inner castle itself, go to the shop that sells swords. It is worth every euro for the price, and does not break like many other souvenirs would. Beware bringing them on airplanes however as they do not pass security very easily in carry-on luggage. I miss the time my classmates and I spent...

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  • Carcassonne have never been stormed...

    When you bypass these unapproachable walls, the imagination draws bloody slaughters and unsuccessful attempts of aggressors to overcome defense. However anybody never tried to storm these strengthenings. There was only one attempt when English prince - the son of Edward III passed through these territories. He burnt the bottom not strengthened...

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Explore Deeper into Carcassonne
La Cité Médiévale
Things to Do
Chateau Comtal Museum
Things to Do
Le Pont Vieux
Things to Do
Place Carnot
Things to Do
Lices Hautes
Things to Do
Porte Narbonnaise
Things to Do
St Gimer Church
Things to Do
interesting "sculpture"
Things to Do
Place Carnot
Things to Do
Walk along the riverside
Things to Do
Pont Vieux
Things to Do
Cathedral of Carcassonne
Things to Do
The Jacobin Gate
Things to Do
Ecluse de l'Aiguille
Things to Do
AggloBus from airport to city centre and La Cite
Transportation
Ride a carriage around the city walls
Things to Do
Good food; great people-watching
Restaurants
Historic building on a river - lovely
Restaurants
Ancienne Place Saint Nazaire
Things to Do
La Chapelle des Dominicaines
Things to Do
Lower Town Fortifications
Things to Do
LOVELY LOCATION.
Restaurants
Worth the walk.
Restaurants
Nice place for lunch
Restaurants
Masterchef Quality
Restaurants
Upper Lists
Things to Do
St. Nazaire inside
Off The Beaten Path
Inner Town
Things to Do
Town's Walls and Towers
Things to Do
Grande Caponniere
Things to Do
Lady Carkass statue and legend
Things to Do
Narbonne Gate
Things to Do
Fortified medieval town
Things to Do
Wax Museum
Off The Beaten Path
Inquisition Museum
Off The Beaten Path
Sacred Nasar Legend
Off The Beaten Path
Carcassonne History
Favorites
Carcassonne is in UNESCO’s World Heritage list
Favorites
Sacred Nasar Basil tour
Off The Beaten Path
Carcassonne Guided Tours
Favorites
Map of Carcassonne

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