This impressive UNESCO world heritage medieval fortress is unique in Europe for its beauty and size and walking along its 3 kilometres of ramparts is a must. There is no entrance fee, unless you would like to take a tour on the small train which means a small fee. The site was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.
The “Jewel of the Cité” (11th-14th centuries) is a prime example of Norman and Gothic architecture existing comfortably side by side. It is home to the tomb of Bishop Pierre de Rochefort (14th century) and one of the oldest and most important organs of South of France. This national monument offers masses every Sunday at 11 am.
Originally the dwelling of powerful feudal lords, the The Château Comtal (Count’s Castle) has undergone many changes over the centuries. This very well looked after and repaired 12th century Medieval castle is part of Cité de Carcassonne (the medieval city). Learn more about its history by taking an informative audio tour. The castle also houses a small museum with historical painting, statues and relics.
The Bastide Saint Louis is the heart of Carcasonne, built in 1260, to a checkerboard layout around the Place Carnot and its colourful market. Wandering in rich southern French charm, you will see beautiful religious buildings like Church Saint Vincent, private mansions as well as restful parks and gardens. Among top attractions is the Gothic-styled Saint-Michel Cathedral, which features a wealth of objects of worship and art work.
Nearby Bastide Saint Louis, you can continue your visit along the famous Canal du Midi that is suitable for its fine trekking, but there are also several boat trips to choose from. The canal was built in the 17th century and together with some other waters it connects the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Canal du Midi is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Carcassonne Croisière offers plenty of fun and relaxing boat trips:
If you have time, Carcassonne and the surrounding region are home to some of the best French vineyards. This is a real pride of the city and well worth a visit. O'Vineyards is located just 10 minutes’ taxi ride from the train station and is a good example of a winery-vineyard where you can learn how they make their wine and where the wine samples are generous. You can also add dining and even an overnight stay on this wine tour.
Just a few minutes from the city, you find this lake that offers several outdoor activities. You can walk around the lake and watch the wide variety of landscape conditions. There are sandy beaches to relax on, playgrounds for the children, fishing spots and different sport activities such as horseback riding, water sports and beach volleyball. This place is fun for the whole family.
Théâtre Jean Deschamps is an outdoor theatre in the area of the medieval city. It was built in the beginning of the 20th century and is designed to cater for tragedies, operas and lyric dramas. A large festival is held in July every year to celebrate the theatre as well as concerts and other shows. See website below for a more detailed show program.
This 5 kilometre long sculpture trail is located approximately 35 kilometres from Carcassonne, up in the Corbieres hills in a beautiful green nature. To walk the whole trail and watch all the sculptures takes about 2,5 hours so this is a day trip from the city. Not only sculptures to look at when walking this trail, but also amazing views across the mountains.
In the area of Lac de La Cavayere you can find this acrobatic park. There are different trails of different levels with monkey bridges, wall climbing, Tarzan jumps and much more. For parents or anyone who is not fond of heights and adrenalin kicks of this sort there are also picnic areas to watch the spectacle from.
This small museum is located very close to the medieval city walls. Its exhibition with photos, recollections, uniforms and memorabilia focus on the French military history and it has a section that shows the local area during World War II. There is also a small library featuring journals and books that deals with this topic.
The host, Rowena, welcomes you to Ammonite Pottery, where she will teach you how to throw pottery. She offers classes to all ages which is consider fun and relaxing. Here you will get the opportunity to create your own beautiful item to bring back home or give away as a personal gift. Only half an hour drive away from Carcassonne, Ammonite Pottery is located in the French countryside, three kilometres from the medieval village of Caunes Minervois.
Recommended by the locals, this restaurant is located in a narrow street, off the beaten path and housed in an elegant and medieval building. The menu provides the typical cassoulet, but also other dishes such as the ‘parillada’ which is made with fresh fish and is definitely worth a try.
Located just a short walk from Canal du Midi, opposite the train station, Chez Fred serves sophisticated, traditional Mediterranean food as well as French cuisine. The great buzz, efficient staff and the freshly prepared food are some of the reasons people are coming back for more.
The area of Carcassonne is famous for its fine wines and for a culinary experience combined with high quality wine tasting, O’Vineyards Table d’Hôtes-Restaurant is the place to go. This warm and friendly venue is called "A home away from home" and Liz and Joe will greet you with their best home-made French food with influences of a Vietnamese-New Caledonian heritage.
Restaurant La Marquiere has a superb location in the medieval city, hidden away from the main street. Here you can enjoy French fine dining and the food is cooked to perfection by the skilful chefs and the generous sized portions are served by the attentive staff. During summer months and sunny days, the patio with a relaxed ambiance is open where to relish your mouth-watering food.
This gem is hidden in an industrial area of the city but is well visited by locals. The interior of the dining room feels Spanish and in the summer months you can sit in the surprisingly beautiful courtyard. The food served here is traditional French and is truly a gastronomic delight.
If you have not tried the typical French dish "L'Escargot" (snails), this is a good restaurant for your premiere. At L'Escargot, you order French "tapas" and you and your company share several small French dishes, so if you happen to not like the delicacy, it will not end with you having to leave the restaurant hungry.
Located about 20 minutes’ drive outside Carcassonne, Bourdasso is an excellent family-run Italian restaurant housed in a beautifully restored old building with a relaxed country atmosphere. The food is cooked to perfection with top quality ingredients and from the wine list you can choose a lovely Italian wine to compliment your dinner.
Situated right in the centre, Au Four St. Louis offers their guests French cuisine that comes straight from the heart and made with fresh ingredients. The attentive and prompt service, the cosy ambiance and of course the delicious food are some of the reasons why tourists as well as the locals are coming back for more.
French food is on the menu at this reasonably priced restaurant and everything is served by the friendly staff. La Maison de La Blanquette is beautifully located on a busy square and offers an outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your scrumptious meal while watching the world go by.
Tucked away in an alley on the main road, L’Arganier is a good option if you would like to have a break from the French food. Here they offer Moroccan food with lots of flavours without being too hot. The lamb tagine with perfectly cooked couscous is something that should not be missed!
At this pleasantly busy restaurant with a bustling atmosphere they specializing in tapas. Restaurant Le Passage attracts a good mixture of tourists and locals with its excellent local wines and tasty food with Spanish flavours. Don´t miss out to book your table in the lovely courtyard, a true hidden gem that is beautifully shaded with olive trees.
Another lovey Crêperie located in the heart of the Carcassonne where the menu is appetizing and offers buckwheat pancakes with various fillings, some traditional and others quite original like the pancake filled with cheese, eggs, Toulouse sausages and pickled onions. The decor is simple and modern and the cooking is done in the middle of the restaurant for everyone to see.
At Le B the focus lies on heavenly delicious bagels with various fillings. The bread is prepared by a local baker and then made-to-order with local and fresh produce. You can either eat in or takeaway. Beside bagels, the menu offers soups, hot dogs, vegetable chips and a good selection of desserts like muffins and sweet bagels.
Simple cafe with a breakfast and lunch menu, Le Chaudron Cathare serves great paninis, sandwiches, soups, snacks and savoury pancakes, waffles as well as a wide variety of ice creams. There is a shaded courtyard where you can cool down on a very hot day while enjoying your food and drink.
Located inside the La Galerie Géant Salvaza, L'apar Thé offers a warm and modern setting where you can discover a world of great variety of coffee and tea. A combined shop and cafe, the store offers a wide selection of coffee, tea, crockery and gift ideas. This is a great place where to refuel between all the shopping.
Head for Cafe Saillan, in the centre of the city, close to the market, for breakfast, lunch or just for a coffee or a cold drink. This welcoming cafe is visited by many regulars but also by people who are just passing by. Sit down and have a relaxing moment on the outside terrace and watch the world go by while enjoying your meal and coffee.
The name says it all, if you have a sweet tooth then this is the place to head for. Meery Cake is a beautiful shop with a large variety of lovely cakes and cupcakes with all sorts of yummy flavours. If this was not enough, they have a great assortment of sweets available and displayed in large glass jars. You can either stay in or take away, but if you do stay in, they have free WiFi so take the opportunity and get connected with your friends.
Bloc G is a hotel and is located in the medieval part of Carcassonne. Its modern and charming wine bar attracts a mixed clientele. Here you can enjoy delicious food and carefully selected wine from the oldest vineyards in the world. If the weather permits, enjoy your drink on the terrace.
Discover and enjoy some fine wines with friends or your loved ones at Le Verre d'un. The interesting wine selection is varied and cater all budgets and it all can be enjoyed inside or on the terrace. If you would like to try wine tasting, then make sure to check the program on the website or book a private tasting.
At this lovely small bar, you will be meet by friendly staff who go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The bar is frequented by many locals so this is definitely a great place where to get to know the people from Carcassonne. If you are into sport, live games are broadcast on the TV and live entertainment is provided occasionally.
Plugg d is a tapas bar where you can relish homemade tapas accompanied with a good wine. The decor is perfectly combined with contemporary, industrial and rustic style with a big bar and custom made bar tables. When the evening falls, the lights get dimmed and Dj puts the record on to get the vibe going. Also hosting live entertainment.
Situated off the main tourist street, you will find this buzzing little hideaway. Le bar à vins is a lovely tapas bar with causal music, friendly service and with a relaxed ambiance, making it a great place to visit after a day of sightseeing. The menu provides a good range of beers and wines and it all can be enjoyed on the shaded courtyard.
Ideally located on the banks of the Canal du Midi, Le métronome is an institution where to experience a nice atmosphere, great music and tasty food. In the evenings, once you have finished your meal, the atmosphere gets more vibrant and some of the latest hit music is pumping through the speakers.
Another fantastic wine bar that offers small sharing plates of local delicacy and a large variety of local wines. Lâche Pas La Grappe is a casual place and popular among the locals which create a lovely atmosphere in the bar. When here you can purchase some wine to bring back home by the bottle or crate at excellent prices.
Opened its doors in 2001, V and B Carcassonne is a store with a beer and wine cellar as well as a tasting area (bar) that offers a huge variety of beer and wine from France plus other countries. There are over 300 products to be more exactly so you will for sure find some favourites.
In the modern lower city, Bastide Saint Louis, there is a popular market for clothing on boulevard Barbès. Nearby, rue Georges Clémenceau and rue de Verdun are the major streets for shopping with a vast array of retailers, bookshops with rare or sold-out editions, shoes, cosmetics and perfume. On Place Carnot, the colourful market, with a mouth-watering selection of local delicacies is definitely worth a visit.
Shopping in the walled Cité is more authentic, although most of the shops are dedicated to tourists. There are a large number of tiny stores, boutiques and craftsmen. All kinds of souvenirs can be bought such as original clothes in wool, old maps, or gift items like antiques and local art or crafts. Knives, swords and other medieval weapons are also found in speciality shops. You will find excellent souvenirs and toys for the kids! There are a couple of good souvenir shops at the junction of rue Cros-Mayrevieille and rue Saint Sernin. For genuine articles, try the “Antiquities,” at the bottom of the rue Porte d’Aude. It is the oldest and most reliable shop for antiques.
Everything you will need when it comes to food, you will find it in this food hall, which is housed in a beautiful building, built in 1768. Stalls offering fresh produce from the region everything from high quality cheese to fresh vegetables, bakery goods, fruits, meats and fish.
Whatever your style in footwear is, you will for sure find it in Chaussea. Here they offer a wide selection of shoes for men, women and children. With the latest collection, the staff are happy to help you to find the perfect shoes whether you need sneakers, boots, heels or dress shoes.
Find the biggest brand when it comes to sport at Sport2000 Carcassonne. They have the trendiest brands for both young and old. Beside sportswear, they have also sport products and equipment and you will definitely find the products you need to practice your favorite sport.
Carcassonne is served by an international airport, “Aeroport de Carcassonne-Salvaza”, located 2 kilometres west of the city. The cheapest and fastest way to get into town is the shuttle service. Shuttles run according to flight schedules, departure is every 30 minutes after each flight arrival and take you to the city centre, train station and the Cité. Tickets can be bought on the buss and is valid over the entire urban network for one hour. If you rather take a taxi, the cost from the airport to Carcassonne town centre is normally cheaper than a taxi to the Cité. Carcassonne Taxis +33 4 68 71 50 50
The “Aglo’Bus” runs an efficient network of public buses and shuttles. Network of 11 bus routes are serving the city and the surrounding areas. You can purchase tickets on board or at the company hub (Halte Centrale/Parking du Dôme on Square Gambetta). Do not forget to validate your ticket when you enter the vehicle. There are travel cards for longer stays. There are also tourist train shuttle services, that operates between the medieval city and the Bastide Saint Louis. Outward route: Chénier - Davilla – Dôme - Medieval City. Return route: Medieval City - St Gimer - Gambetta - Chénier
Pharmacies are scattered around the city and can be recognised by the green cross. If you encounter any emergency situation, the duty pharmacy's name and phone number are on the door. Otherwise, you can call 3237 to get more information. Some of the pharmacies that can be found in area are: Sarcos Pierre 9 Place Carnot, Carcassonne +33 4 68 11 99 99 Pharmacie Lozano-Grimaldi 81 rue de Verdun, Carcassonne +33 4 68 25 08 11 [email protected] www.totum.fr For all night pharmacy call +33 4 68 11 26 00