View Map

Overview

The medieval fortifications of Carcassonne, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, constitute one of the most spectacular sights in Europe — but they almost didn't survive. Long a site of bloody conflict, especially during the Albigensian Crusade and border wars between France and Spain in the high Middle Ages, the city by Napoleon's day was no longer strategically important and the fortifications were allowed to decay. They were saved from demolition by the work of the 19th-century architect Viollet-le-Duc, but (historians complain) at the cost of strict authenticity. Nonetheless, a few million visitors flock here each year ...

The medieval fortifications of Carcassonne, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, constitute one of the most spectacular sights in Europe — but they almost didn't survive. Long a site of bloody conflict, especially during the Albigensian Crusade and border wars between France and Spain in the high Middle Ages, the city by Napoleon's day was no longer strategically important and the fortifications were allowed to decay. They were saved from demolition by the work of the 19th-century architect Viollet-le-Duc, but (historians complain) at the cost of strict authenticity. Nonetheless, a few million visitors flock here each year to contemplate the region's exciting past. The city consists of two parts: the upper, fortified Cité, and the lower Ville Basse, with a more 18th-century and modern flair. Today, Carcassonne mostly thrives on tourism related to the Cité, the Midi Canal, Languedoc wines, and a performing arts festival each July.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

view full overview

Juliette Rogers for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Carcassonne is a fortified city in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France.
  • Language: French, Occitan
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year round, but most crowded in the summer