Medieval Carcassonne,
a castle & cobblestone walkabout

Carcassonne 1 day

Localisation-Carcassonne
portrait-médaillon-marc-gassion
Tried and tested for you by
Marc
, heritage expert

Let your imagination run wild in the castle towers, lose yourself in the narrow Medieval streets and dominate the world from the rampart walls before relaxing with a drink on one of the terraces. Yes, Carcassonne has all of this!

  • With children
  • Wines & Gastronomy

01 Highlight

Through the gates of Time

Simply breathtaking!

The drawbridge will fire your imagination instantly!

Visiter la Cité de Carcassonne

Crossing the Porte Narbonnaise, a 2-tower gateway with murder holes and portcullises, is like venturing into an unknown world of 8 centuries ago! Off we go!

Access to the Citadel
Access is easy thanks to the vast pay car parks located just opposite the monument, a short walk from the Porte Narbonnaise, which is the main entrance to this fortress. It is completely free to visit the Citadel, but an admission fee is payable for the castle, which is also a museum.
Visite de la Cité de Carcassonne en couple ©Philippe Benoist-ADT de l'Aude
Passage par la porte d'Aude pour visiter la Cité de Carcassonne en couple ©Philippe Benoist-ADT de l'Aude

Fortress in sight

The citadel village is still inhabited. The approach street climbs gently up to the impressive barbican that towers before us. This is the entrance to the fortress, the ancient palace of the viscounts of Carcassonne. That’s where we’re heading.

Our tip

Families with young children in pushchairs may encounter difficulties on the cobbled streets and inside the castle. We recommend you use a baby sling instead.
Les commerces de la Cité de Carcassonne ©ADT de l'Aude

02 Highlight

Meet knights and troubadours

Visite des remparts de la Cité de Carcassonne ©ADT de l'Aude
Passage par la porte Narbonnaise pour visiter la Cité de Carcassonne en couple ©Philippe Benoist-ADT de l'Aude

Horsemen practise wielding their weapons while servants go about their chores, As soon as we set foot in the main courtyard, surrounded by the high castle walls and towers, our inner child sees troubadours and horses, and imagines being an armoured knight ready to defend his castle!

The legend of Dame Carcas

You’re greeted by her statue on entering the Citadel. Everyone knows her in Carcassonne. It is said that she cunningly ensured the town was named after her. Find out more about this icon of the Citadel.

Visite de la Cité Carcassonne par la porte narbonnaise ©ADT de l'Aude

Inside the Maze

Walk from room to room admiring the statues and recumbent figures… vestiges of life in Languedoc during the Middle Ages. Not forgetting the moving Romanesque frescoes which are still surprisingly bright and colourful.

Passage dans la Cité de Carcassonne, rue Cros Mayrevieille ©ADT de l'Aude

A large model offers an overview of the Citadel. The tour takes us through corridors and up and down spiral staircases. It’s easy to get lost in this maze! I wonder if people got lost here in the Middle Ages…

Pay attention
Due to the many slopes and steps, the castle tour may be difficult for people with walking disabilities
Balade dans les rue de la Cité de Carcassonne en couple ©Philippe Benoist-ADT de l'Aude

03 highlight

Stunning panoramic views

Visite de la Cité de Carcassonne ©Pierre Davy-ADT de l'Aude
Découverte de la Cité de Carcassonne et sa basilique Saint-Nazaire ©ADT de l'Aude

On the wall walk, with the wind in their hair, every visitor stops to contemplate the incredible view! The Medieval rampart wall towers above the town, offering a landscape of round towers, square towers, pointed towers, the crenelated basilica steeple, the pink rooftops of the Citadel, and the exceptional backdrop of the Montagne Noire and Pyrenean mountains. 360° view!

Achats de souvenirs à la Cité de Carcassonne ©ADT de l'Aude

Memories & souvenirs

After 2 hours of adventure, it’s time to leave this unique place. Stop at the boutique & bookshop where you’ll find a lovely range of souvenir items, books, children’s games, and even a selection of local wines including Corbières, Minervois and Blanquette de Limoux!

History under the cobblestones

Continue your walk in the winding cobblestone streets of the old town, discovering the restaurants, ancient buildings, and boutiques of every nature. From one street to the next, the atmosphere switches from buzzing scenes of children shouting happily and crowds of people enjoying the aromas that waft out of the restaurants, to alleyways bathing in silence, where only the ghosts of a troubled past come to whisper in your ear. Or was it just the breeze?

Les visites guidées à Carcassonne

Julie

Carcassonne Tourist Office

Guided tour

“Besides the castle, Carcassonne Tourist Office proposes various tours of the town and treasure-hunt packs.”

“Or you can visit the Medieval Living History Centre for a tour in costume.”

A moment of tranquillity

The streets lead us to the Basilica forecourt. The gargoyles have their eyes on us! This church is sober on the outside, but the interior is a real delight! It is a harmonious blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles, with brightly-coloured stained glass windows.
Visite de la Cathédrale St Nazaire dans la Cité de Carcassonne ©Philippe Benoist-ADT de l'Aude

Reds, yellows, blues, and a gleaming and fragrant shroud of colour and incense that almost hypnotises us. Whether you’re a believer or not, this is the perfect place to find inspiration and serenity.

If possible 
Visit the basilica late in the day when the stained glass windows are lit up by the sun’s low rays. It’s a colourful show! Open until 8 pm from April to October.

Contemplez les vitraux de la Basilique Saint Nazaire ©Monument de France

04 Highlight

Relaxing on the terrace

Daydreaming in the sun

The ultimate goal: To daydream in the sun and enjoy the peace and quiet of a café terrace. Yes, Carcassonne has this too! Try a few olives washed down with a glass of local wine, in the sun, with friends, all in an outstanding setting… sheer joy!

Boire un verre en terrasse dans la Cité de Carcassonne ©Philippe Benoist-ADT de l'Aude

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Getting here

By car

For direct access to the Citadel, turn off the A61 motorway at the Carcassone-Est exit. It’ll take you 5 minutes to get here.

By train

Arriving in the centre of Carcassonne, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing the Canal du Midi as soon as you leave the station. You can then reach the citadel on foot or by public transport, as described above.

By plane

Ryanair operates scheduled flights from Carcassonne Airport to destinations in Northern Europe (London, Dublin, Brussels, etc.) and to less frequent destinations such as Porto. A bus link runs between the airport and the Bastide and Citadel.

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Something to take home

Cabanel Distillery

Cabanel Distillery is an institution in Carcassonne. Its products can be purchased at the main site in the Bastide, and from good-quality wine retailers and local produce specialists. Our favourite is the Menthe (mint liqueur), to be served on the rocks and drunk in moderation!

Les pavés de la Cité

The “citadel cobblestones” are a chocolate speciality for sweet-tooths.