Designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, this incredible example of a heavily fortified village has a history dating back over 5,000 years when the Celts first settled this area in southern France. The Romans built the earliest fortifications on the strategic site, and portions of the existing walls date from these early times. By the 500AD Carcassonne was recognized as a site capable of repelling any attacking force.
Whether arriving by barge on the Canal du Midi, by train at the Gare de Carcassonne, by plane or by car, Carcassonne provides a wealth of accommodations and attractions for the discriminating traveler. From the beautifully renovated Hotel Du Chateau located by the Carcassonne Castle to quaint guest houses within the ancient city, Carcassonne offers a delightful choice of rooms.
Museums, churches, outdoor markets and a variety of fascinating events keep the visitor well occupied both within the walled city and in the rest of the city across the Aude River. The newer part of the city dates to the Middle Ages and is at the heart of southern France’s wine region. Delicious local cuisine and award winning wines are found in restaurants throughout the city.
The medieval walled town is open to visitors to explore the double ring of walls and 52 towers, including the infamous Inquisition Tower that hosts the Musee de la Torture displaying equipment used during the 13th century inquisition. The fortified town is the home of many interesting shops and fine craftsmen. Days can be spent exploring the sites within the walls.
The Canal du Midi, dating from the 17th century, originally flowed outside of Carcassonne but was diverted and improved to provide Carcassonne with easy access to this mode of transportation in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The canal offers a fascinating glimpse of engineering technology from hundreds of years ago. Today, it provides a pleasurable method of transportation for tourists. Touring barge, private yachts and working craft all sail its waters. Discover the canal by walking or bicycling its banks or take a guided boat trip through the city.
Carcassonne is host to the fantastic Cite Set Ablaze, an evening of incredible fireworks over the medieval town. Best viewed from the banks of the Aude River, a full 25 minutes of spectacular fireworks happens every July 14th. A world famous annual event, 700,000 visitors come to thrill at the display. A major event in southern France, The Festival of Carcassonne brings a month of cultural events to the city. Over 100 shows, most of them free, highlight a wide range of performing artists. From opera to international popular music, theater and dance, this celebration has events to please everyone.