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 center 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.
Between the Canal du Midi and the Historic Fortified City, visitors are encuraged for an afternoon stroll around Bastide Saint-Louis with its churches, its cathedral, its museums and its private mansions. From the Pont Vieux, pilgrims and visitors can follow St James’ Way (Piémont Pyrénéen way) along the banks of the river Aude. Carcassonne is also a centre of Catharism and saw the tide turn against it during the 1209 Albigensian crusade. The leader of the crusade, Simon de Montfort, took over control of the fortress from the powerful Raymond Roger de Trencavel, protector of the Cathars.
Not to be missed
• The Medieval City with its 52 towers and 3km of ramparts.
• Basilique Saint Nazaire (11 -13th century) and its stained-glass windows (12 - 16th century).
• The count’s castle (11 - 13th century) 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 (13th century) 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 (17th century) 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
- Aéroport Carcassonne airport in Cathar country
Ryanair connection: Paris, Beauvais, London, Charleroi, Cork, East Midlands, Glasgow, Liverpool, Porto, Billund, Bournemouth, Eindhoven, Dublin
- Toulouse-Blagnac International Airport (105 km)
- Airport Roissy Charles de Gaulle – Carcassonne (5hrs45)
- Paris – Carcassonne (5hrs)
- Barcelone – Carcassonne (4hrs10)
- Nice – Carcassonne (5hrs45)
- Bordeaux – Carcassonne (2hrs50)
- Toulouse (89 km)
- Montpellier (150 km)
- Barcelone (290 km)
- Paris (770 km)
Restaurants: From traditional cuisine to exotic specialities, including gastronomic cuisine from Michelin-star chefs3 Michelin- star restaurants
Accommodation: 37 hotels, 1,818 rooms
Visiting the city:
- Historic Fortified City (3rd - 13th centuries), the largest Medieval site in Europe on the UNESCO World Heritage list
- Basilica (11th - 14th centuries)
- Bastide Saint-Louis (13th century)• Saint Michel Cathedral
- Canal du Midi (17th century), UNESCO World Heritage site
Guided tour of the medieval city and the Bastide saint Louis
for individuals from 25 March till 31 October
3h VIP Guided Tour: Castle+ Basilica + Bastide Saint Louis
April 1st until October 31st
Literature: Brochure available at the Tourist Office in 11 languages
Interactive terminal (FR, EN, ES) 24/7
- Carcassonne Festival (June 19 - August 3)
- Illumination of the historic fortified city (July 14)
- The magic of Christmas (May 18)
- Feria of Carcassonne (August 29 - September 1)