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The Walled City of Carcassonne is known first and foremost as a fortified medieval town; but this rocky outcrop has been occupied by man since the 6th century B.C., first as a gaul settlement, then as a Roman town fitted with ramparts as early as the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. On the western face of this primitive fortification rests the castle, built in the 12th century by the vicomtes Trencavel . In the early 13th century, Carcassonne was taken by Simon de Montfort during the Albigensian Crusade, then annexed to the royal estate. Fortification works lasted throughout the 13th century, with the construction of the outer wall and the modernisation of the inner rampart, making this place an impregnable fortress. The Cité lost its strategic importance after the signing of the Pyrénées Treaty in 1659. In the second half of the 19th century Carrcassonne underwent a major restoration project supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and was included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List.
Carcassone is a very interesting destination. The old City is everyone’s fantasy of Middle Ages architecture and the “new” town has all the amenities one would expect. The surrounding countryside can be very pretty with lots of small villages and hamlets.
CARCASSONNE knows how to greet its visitors with a variety of accomodations: from first-class hotels to camping grounds, via charming hostels, bed-and-breakfasts, self-catering cottages, etc.
Located at the heart of the Toulouse-Montpellier-Barcelone triangle, at the crossroads of two major traffic roads dating back to the most ancient times, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, from the Cévennes to the Pyrénées mountain range where the Aude has its source, Carcassonne blooms in the plains of the lower valley, inviting you to walk in and out of its streets. Discover its history, its local cuisine, its wines, or simply enjoy the scenery.
From the Bastide Saint-Louis to the medieval Walled City, Carcassonne offers a wealth of monuments to visit and discover!
In Carcassonne you can take a leisurely stroll along the streets on your own and be charmed by the buildings and the people you’ll meet along the way; or you can be accompanied by our interpretive guides who are intent on restoring the memory of their city.
All paths are open for your visiting pleasure!
Throughout the year the carcassonne town is bustling with artistic activity: theatre, exhibits, concerts, ballet .
The summer season, however, is the richest.
In July, the Festival of Carcassonne Languedoc Roussillon is held in the splendid Grand Théâtre de la Cité, offering you a variety of concerts, operas, plays and ballet… The Festival Off gives young artists the opportunity to make themselves known. On July 14th, Bastille Day, don’t miss the one and only Event, the remarkable Setting ablaze of the Cité !
August is the month of a medieval show taking place throughout the Cité and the Bastide Saint Louis !
A magnificent work achieved in the 17th century by Pierre-Paul Riquet and diverted through Carcassonne in 1777-1798, the Canal du Midi has been included in the World Heritage List of U.N.E.S.C.O. since 1996.
It is only after one has seen the complete collection of works (the Cammazes, the dam of Saint-Ferréol, the lock of Fonsérannes, etc.) that one can fully assess the magnitude of the task performed more than 300 years ago. A concentrate of state-of-the-art hydrography, topography, geometry and architecture in its own time, the Canal is still an object of wonder today.
In Carcassonne, the present-day harbour was inaugurated on 31 May 1810, together with the Canal’s current course through the city.