Make historic Carcassonne your next European destination
Carcassonne is a large medieval citadel located in southern France, a contrast to the rolling hills that surround it. The old fortified walls and turrets dominate the landscape, and inside you will find the streets busy with intrigued visitors imagining what life there was once like. Beyond the castle are classic French streets for you to wander, churches as decorative as the citadel itself and another UNESCO World Heritage Site to explore.
The medieval city of Carcassonne gained the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, one year after the Canal du Midi. Formerly a route to transport goods into the area, the canal is now used by boaters wanting an alternative view of the city and its surroundings. You can cycle along its paths, which lead into the heart of Carcassonne under the shade of the tree-lined banks. At the base of the fortified castle is Bastide St-Louis, part of the Ville Basse area of the wider city. Its streets link up with each other around the central square, and you can wander the area’s famous covered market.
It is only right that an area with such a rich past should offer a host of museums for visitors to learn about it. The Musée de l’École recreates the scene of the local school as it was during the time of the third and fourth republic. Meanwhile, the Musée-trésor de Notre Dame de l'Abbaye showcases artefacts and other significant items once held by the bishops who stayed at the abbey. The Surrealist French poet, Joë Bousquet, passed away in Carcassonne in 1950, and his work is celebrated at the Maison des Memoires - Centre Joë Bousquet. There is also the Musée des Beaux Arts to the north-west of the medieval city, where you can admire paintings and ceramics from the 17th century.
Food and drink
A holiday in Carcassonne will inevitably take you inside one of its various relaxing restaurants to savour the wonderful cuisine on offer. This isn’t limited to classic French dishes though, as bistros and restaurants focused on food from other European nations will tempt you inside. The Languedoc region’s rural setting is reflected in the menus. A variety of different meats including duck and suckling pig are commonplace, as is the local red wine. You can book a winery visit to learn about how the grapes are grown and nurtured before being turned into wine, and of course enjoy a sample. Certain winery packages also include accommodation at the vineyard itself, so you can immerse yourself in this important industry.
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