France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Carcassonne, France Guide
Famous for its fortress-town of La Cité restored by Viollet-le-Duc, Carcassonne is a must-see when you're in this part of France.




Carcassonne is famous for its marvelous fortified city on a hill commanding the modern city.

You can do a quick visit in half a day, but a full day is necessary to truly enjoy all it has to offer: wandering its narrow streets, inspecting its churches and public buildings, touring the Château Comtal citadel within the fortress, circumambulating the ramparts, and stopping for a drink, a snack or a meal in one of its cafés or restaurants.

First thing to know for your visit is that there are three Carcassonnes:

La Cité

The historic castle-fortress walled town on the hill, holds the Château Comtal (Citadel) within it. Its outskirts covered with car parking lots, La Cité holds several hotels, restaurants, shops, and historic sights. Spending a few hours, a half day, or a night here is the main reason to visit Carcassonne. More...

La Bastide St-Louis

The grid of narrow streets across the River Aude was laid out in the 13th century, an early example of the street plan later adopted for New York and other modern cities, but very unusual for the 1200s. La Bastide also has some historic buildings, hotels and restaurants, and is worth a stroll. More...

Modern Carcassonne

The rest of the city outside La Cité and La Bastide, is not usually the goal of a visit, but useful for lodging and other services.

Street signs can be confusing, as Centre-Ville is not the same as La Cité, but when you get to Centre-Ville, more or less at La Bastide, you'll easily see La Cité on its hill.

Where to Stay

Hotels are located right within La Cité, right outside the walls, at the foot of La Cité's hill near the Pont Vieux, in Centre-Ville, and on the outskirts. If you stay right within La Cité and stroll in the evening or early morning after the crowds depart or before they arrive, you will be able to truly imagine what it was like here in the Middle Ages. More...


It's a long haul from Paris to Carcassonne by train, but an easy trip from Toulouse or Narbonne. Carcassonne even has its own small airport. More...

Carcassonne Hotels

What to See & Do

La Cité

La Bastide

Carcassonne Restaurants

Carcassonne Transport

Tourist Information

Food & Drink in Languedoc

About Languedoc


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La Cité, Carcassonne, France

Above, Sitting in the shade outside the main gates of La Cité, Carcassonne, France.

Below, The Pont Vieux, connecting La Cité and La Bastide.


Pont Vieux, Carcassonne

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