Who said anything about the castle being enchanted?
You’ll probably (hopefully) be able to quickly tell from this post that Carcassonne is beautiful. I got snap happy and struggled to cut down my photos so there’ll actually be a few posts about this amazing part of the South of France! First up is a mini guide to summarise the things to see and do, some places to eat and where to stay in the Cité de Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Are you in love yet? Carcassonne just has to have been the inspiration for more than a couple of Disney films. Can’t you just imagine Belle running around here?! It also reminds me of my favourite scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail: “I’m French, why do you think I have this outrageous accent?“.
The weather actually wasn’t great for some of our trip (who thinks they’ll need to pack for rain when they visit the South of France in June?!) but we couldn’t be deterred from wandering the streets for hours. Besides, the occasional moody skies over the castle were equally as beautiful as the intermittent sunshine.
We had such a great time and it feels unreal to be writing this, but after last week’s referendum I can’t help but feel this trip is tinged with poignancy. I simply didn’t believe Britain would vote to leave the EU. Words fail me now (though I tweeted enough of them on Friday). I’m just left feeling very sad.
Having been born in the 1980s I don’t know a UK that isn’t part of the EU. I usually find the prospect of change exciting but now I’m scared; I fear people voted based on ignorance and fear and, sometimes, sheer laziness and/or stupidity. I’m also angry; we’ve been robbed of our future by a generation that, to be blunt, won’t have to live with the results of their choice for as long as we will. Only time will tell the outcome of the decision that was made for us but for now I’ll finish by saying please not Boris.
Things to see and do
- Cité de Carcassonne
- Chateau Comtal and the city walls
- Carcassonne Cathedral
- La Bastide Saint Louis, AKA the newer part of town
- River Aude, keep an eye out for coypus!
- Place Carnot market
- Brocante, I have no idea how regular this flea market is as I tried to find information on them for our trip (French brocantes are the best!) but was unsuccessful. We accidentally came across this one outside the train station on Sunday morning, as we left for Narbonne
Places to eat and drink
- Le Chaudron, 6 Rue Saint Jean
- L’Escargot, 7 Rue Viollet le Duc
- Auberge des Lices, 3 rue Raymond Roger Trencave
- Au Four St. Louis, 4 Rue Saint Louis
- La Table d’Alais, 32 Rue du Plo
- L’Atelier de la Truffe, 51 Rue Trivalle
Where to stay
There are only three hotels within the fortified Cité de Carcassonne. Obviously, they’re all pricey (though the Hôtel de la Cité looked amazing, if you are happy spending more cash). We stayed at the Pont Levis Hôtel which is just outside the city walls and super handy for the airport shuttle bus (€5pp each way). Our room was perfectly nice and opened out onto a beautiful terrace and garden, from which there were lovely views over the Cité de Carcassonne. The only downside was the lack of sound-proofing (and our neighbour’s noisy child – thankfully we only overlapped for one morning!) | 4/5
- Walking Carcassonne’s ramparts and exploring the Château Comtal
- A Saturday at Carcassonne’s Place Carnot Market
- Two car-free day trips from Carcassonne: Narbonne and Bram
- Our last day in Carcassonne
- Carcassonne video diary!