This is Europe's most powerful medieval fortress, bearing witness to two thousand years of history. It has fifty-two towers and two concentric walls, three kilometres long. The site is very well preserved with origins dating back to the Gallo-Roman period. It includes several architectural jewels. Don't miss the Saint Nazaire Basilica, a superb combination of Romanesque and Gothic art, embellished by stained-glass windows dating from the 13th and 15th centuries. The Château Comtal impresses visitors with its collection of remains from Antiquity and the Middle Ages, as well as its architecture , helping to make it "a fortress within a fortress". The Cité de Carcassonne has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997.
The Cité de Carcassonne, the Château and ramparts are open every day of the year.
Opening times: January to March & October to December: 9.30 am to 5 pm. April to September: 10 am to 6.30 pm. Guided visit: €12.50 and €9 (concessions)
Prices 2020: €8.50, concessions: €6.50, free for under 18s (with their families and excepting school groups).
Cité de Carcassonne château and ramparts
1 Rue Violet-le-Duc
Tel. 04 68 11 70 70
Other sights to see in Carcassonne
The Bastide Saint-Louis is a rich architectural site built during the reign of Saint Louis in 1260. It includes churches and private mansions. The streets are still laid out in a chequerboard patten, with boulevards dating from the 18th and 19th centuries around the outside. It includes the Maison des Mémoires, a house that belonged to the poet Joë Bousquet, whose guests included Dali, Paul Valéry, Gide, Aragon and Magritte. The Hôtel de Murat was built in the 18th century. It has an impressive inner courtyard and a monumental staircase. The Hôtel de Rolland is especially representative of buildings from the 18th century. Today it is the Town Hall. The Hôtel Bourlat (named after its architect) is closed to the public and can only be seen from the outside. The Maison du Sénéchal is also closed to the public and dates from the 14th century.
On foot, by boat or by bike, there are many different ways to visit the Canal du Midi. The canal has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 1996. The 240 kilometres of waterway were built to transport goods and people, and to link the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Today it is dedicated to leisure activities and is much appreciated by families as a refreshing spot in summer. But please note that swimming is dangerous and forbidden in the canal. But you can still enjoy the water during a sightseeing cruise, a bike ride alongside the canal or a stroll to see all the beauty of the area.
Lastly, the lake of Cavayère is a refreshing haven where you can swim from 15 June to 1 September! Just 10 minutes from Carcassonne, it features access to three lifeguarded beaches, two with sand and one with pebbles. You can have fun in the picnic areas, on the pedaloes and the volleyball pitch. The lake is part of a leisure park with bouncy castles in the area with paid admission. Here, in a preserved natural environment, you and your family can enjoy a wonderful experience together.
To plan your holiday in Aude and your visit to the Cité de Carcassonne and the town, we have selected a few campsites around Carcassonne for you to check out.