Carcassonne City Breaks

A guide to Carcassonne

Carcassonne is one of the most popular destinations in Southwest France and certainly a must see for serious history lovers, with numerous photogenic sights and fascinating architecture to view here. It is the largest remaining walled city in Europe, casting a long shadow of the newer ‘lower town’ and is visually enchanting. The main fortifications encircle the entire old town, essentially forming a vast self-contained castle complete with over 50 imposing watchtowers. Within these two mile long walls, a maze of medieval lanes and museums lie within and offers up a magical journey back into a medieval past.

Europe’s most enchanting fortified city

Heading through the imposing fortified entrance of Porte Narbonnaise, visitors will be treated to the sight of cobbled streets filled with ancient buildings, many nowadays housing elegant gift boutiques, cafes and restaurants. There are two fascinating churches at its centre, and both the Basilica of St Nazaire and the Cathedral of St Michel are well worth exploring in detail. Visiting the centrally located Chateau Comtal is also a must, housing the city’s finest artwork and relics dating back to its Roman origins.

A vibrant New Town to explore

The more modern lower town is also a great spot to explore, for its vibrant weekend markets, quaint art museums and animated shopping streets. Spend a lazy afternoon in elegant Place Carnot and watch the world go by from one of its celebrated pavement cafes. High season will find a city bursting at the seams with visitors, but those who brave the crowds will be rewarded with a spectacular pyrotechnic extravaganza for the famous Bastille Day celebrations. They are considered to be the finest outside Paris, dramatically illuminating its imposing fortified walls and towers.

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