Carcassonne is a medieval fortified town located in the Aude department in the Languedoc Roussillon region of the south of France. It is divided into two parts: the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the Ville basse. It is a fine example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites in 1997.
|Latest properties for sale near Carcassonne: click here|
Located in the Aude department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Carcassonne stands at the crossing between two major traffic routes in use since Antiquity (the route leading from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and that from the Massif Central to Spain, skirting the Pyrenees).
Carcassonne Airport is situated 20mins from the centre of the town. There is also a train station in the centre of the town which operates a frequent TGV service. The town can also be accessed by boat from the Canal du Midi which is 100m from the Bastide Saint Louis (the town centre). Carcassonne is also 1hr from Toulouse.
A fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands since the pre-Roman period. Settlement dates back to 3500BC but the hill site of Carsac became an important place for trading in the 6th Century BC. The main part of the lower courses of the northern ramparts dates from Gallo-Roman times. In 462 the Romans officially surrendered Septimania to the Visigothic King Theodoric II who had held Carcassonne since 453. In 508 the Visigoths successfully foiled attacks by the Frankish King Clovis. In 1067 Carcassonne became the property of Raimond Bernard Trencavel, viscount of Albi and Nîmes. In1849 the town was in such disrepair that the French government decided that it should be demolished. This caused an uproar and a campaign was led to preserve the fortress as a historical monument. Later that year the architect and theorist Eugène Viollet-le-Duc who was already restoring the Basilica of Saint Nazaire was appointed to restore the town. Today Carcassonne is the largest perfectly preserved medieval city in Europe.
The old part of the town comprises of a gothic cathedral, drawbridges, 52 towers, ramparts and many small streets whereas the lower city is more modern. You can easily spend a full day just wandering around the fortress, down the small streets and in the traditional shops. There are always many music concerts to enjoy including the Music Festival on 21st June to celebrate the longest day of the year. In July there is the Bastide Festival with 70 free plays and concerts. There are train tours taking you through the medieval city which enable you to admire its turrets and ramparts. A guided tour of the ramparts is a must as you get to be at the highest point of the fortified city and you get a very good view of the landscape. A visit to the Basilique St Nazaire to see the large beautiful stained glass windows is a must. The city has a very unique atmosphere and is a very popular place to live. The Musée de la torture and the Musée des Moyens Ages are worth a visit as they will give you the impression that you are in Carcassonne during the Middle Ages. A boat trip along the Canal du Midi should also be enjoyed; you can go on a guided trip or hire a boat out yourself and explore the region. In September Nautical Jousts are held on the Canal with lively music and there is a Christmas market with a Medieval-style Nativity scene and an open-air rink in December.
The culinary delicacies of Carcassonne include jamboneau (knuckle of ham), goose and duck confits, and cassoulet (slow-cooked bean stew containing pork sausages, goose, duck, mutton and white haricot beans). Other foods from the region include aromatic herbs from the garrigues (rosemary, thyme, juniper, sage and fennel) garlic, olives and olive oil, fresh vegetables in particular tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and peppers. There are many cheeses including: Roquefort, Bleu des Causses, Tomme de Pyrénées, Brébis, Lauiole and Pélardon. Pork, lamb patés, cured hams and charcuterie are popular meat dishes.
La Rotonde, Boulevard Omer Sarraut, Carcassonne
Auberge de Dame Caracas, 3 place du Chateau, Carcassonne
Our team of sale consultants at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Carcassonne. All of our agenst In Languedoc-Roussillon are registered French estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: flat, gite, B&B, villa, castle or mansion, we will do our best to find a property in Carcassonne matching your requirements.