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Diane Geddie, Product & Short Break Specialist

"Carcassonne is a wonderful fairy-tale city, featuring castles, drawbridges and small cobbled lanes. What’s best about this city is how compact it is, so you can actually explore the whole of Carcassonne in just a few days! If you fancy going shopping, I would recommend going into the streets off from Place Carnot, this is where all the little boutiques are, perfect for souvenirs to bring back home. It also has a weekly food market, a great way to see the local produce and try before you buy."

Carcassonne at a glance

A popular stop along the Canal du Midi, the fortified city of Carcassonne presents an impressive example of a well-preserved medieval town in the heart of a region rich with history. Home to one of France’s most visited sites, an impressive citadel perched high atop the new town, Carcassonne has undergone extensive conservative efforts, enabling it to offer visitors a charming once-upon-a-time atmosphere in which to shop, dine, and site see.

Throughout its history, Carcassonne evolved from an important trading location, to a fortified Roman settlement, to a stronghold that was the first of its kind to use hoardings during sieges. Today the fairytale-like fortification, said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, has been carefully preserved, with some sections dating back to Roman occupation. Visitors can experience a true medieval atmosphere with the castle’s many towers, a drawbridge, cobbled streets, and great views from the historic hill. Additional activities and points of interest include the gothic Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, the museum of fine arts, and a winery tour at O’Vinyards. 

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Historical attractions
  • Weekend short breaks
  • Stunning architecture

Getting around

The best way to soak up the historic atmosphere of Carcassonne is on foot, with most sites within easy walking distance.

Visitors can access Carcassonne by air or train, with the railway network offering connections to Toulouse, Paris, and Marseille among many other destinations. A taxi stand is available just outside the railway station for those not wanting to undertake the 20 min walk into town.

Dining in Carcassonne

Carcassonne offers a variety of dining options for visitors with a good array of regional French faire at a range of prices to suit every taste, from casual family bistros to more upscale modern restaurants boasting excellent views. Dining within the Cité will often cost more, but offers some great restaurants for enjoying the best of traditional French cuisine.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Cassoulet –  a local casserole dish consisting of meat (usually sausage, goose, or duck) and white beans
  • Foie gras – a rich French favorite made of duck or goose liver with a  buttery, delicate flavor
  • Chestnut and Truffle Soup – a lovely regional soup with a creamy base


Rue Verdun is where intriguing shops are located, visitors can pick up unique home décor accessories, local wines, chocolates and cheeses. The buzzing foodie market takes place on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in Place Carnot.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Carcassonne designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice 
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of  hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 47,854
Languages French
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Distance from airports
Carcassonne Airport 7 km