The ancient walled city of Carcassonne is like something out of a storybook. This stunning city of drawbridges, towers and cobbled streets has a truly medieval feel. Its unique charm has attracted many filmmakers its rumoured to have been the inspiration for Walt Disneys film Sleeping Beauty.
Legendary beauty and architecture that's been recognised by UNESCO
Carcassonne is actually two cities in one: the picture-perfect walled town, which is a World Heritage Site and the lower-key lower town, which is full of bars, shops, cafés and restaurants. The walled city fell into such disrepair that the French government decided in 1849 that it should be demolished; there was uproar in response, and the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was commissioned to renovate it.
Top 5 things to see and do
- Château Comtal - Enjoy a guided tour of this 12th-century citadel, which has an amazing 31 towers
- Saint-Nazaire Basilica - The citys Gothic former cathedral is famous for its stained-glass windows
- Lac de la Cavayère - This artificial lake is also known as Carcassonne Beach. Go boating, play crazy golf or have a picnic and admire the wildlife
- Canal du Midi - Boat trips along the canal with commentary last for about two hours
- Musee des Beaux-Arts - Home to European paintings and ceramics from the 17th century to the present day.
Top 5 places for food
- La Ferme - This fine food emporium has everything from luxury items like foie gras and caviar to fancy truffle slicers, corkscrews and champagne buckets
- Place du Château - A lovely old-fashioned store full of regional specialties such as cassoulet, olives aux herbes and grés de la cité, Be sure to try the sweet pastries filled with almonds and vanilla
- LArt Gourmand - An artisan chocolatier also selling nougat, caramel, toffee, fudge and marzipan
- Clos Occitan - Dine under the stars in the pretty courtyard garden with its vine-covered pergola. The food is good quality, and fish fans and vegetarians are well catered for
- LEcurie - An atmospheric restaurant in a former 18th-century stable. Theres a pretty, shady courtyard outside, and wooden features and an olde-worlde feel inside