Stunning, fortified Carcassonne
Justifies its presence on UNESCO’s World Heritage list... and then some. With a full double ring of ramparts and no fewer than 53 towers, it’s an awe-inspiring place to come, look up and look down. The ville basse, the expanse of town down the hill from the medieval fortifications is equally worth exploring... and better still it can all be done on foot. Add wine, river cruising and glorious countryside, and Carcassonne should definitely be on your list.
|Time zone:||GMT +1 hour (GMT +2 hours in summer)|
|Flight Time:||2 hours|
|Holiday type:||City break|
|Weather:||Average maximum temperature: 14.1°C
Rainfall: 827.9mm a year (Data for Revel)
Spend your first day up in the Cite – the main fortress on the hill. Once decrepit and listed for demolition, it was lavishly restored from the 1850s onwards – and now it’s yours to enjoy.
Must eat at:
For dining that’s a cut above, head for La Barbacane in the Hotel de la Cite. It’s justifiably proud of its Michelin star and its modern take on traditional cuisine.
Must be there for:
Take your pick of July and August for the best of Carcassonne. In July, the month-long Carcassonne Festival encompasses music, theatre, opera and dance. A month later, Spanish Week (at the end of August) comprises seven full days of fiesta, flamenco, and even bullfighting.
· Perhaps it’s no surprise that Carcassonne draws 3 million visitors every year. If you want to avoid the crowds, come off season. Spring and Autumn can be particularly beautiful in and around town.
· If you can, arrange to visit when there’s medieval jousting in town. Located between the walls, it’s a noisy, fearsome and energetic spectacle.