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Carcassonne

This fortified castle in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, not to far from the Pyrenees, is spectacular. The city is divided into the elevated, ancient Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse.

The hilltop has been fortified since 100BC when the Romans first occupied the spot. Today's fortifications consist of a double ring of ramparts with over 50 towers. The castle itself, which you can visit, possesses its own drawbridge and ditch leading to a central keep. With all this history, Carcassonne is a popular spot - Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves scenes were shot in and around it. While its population is only small (50,000), Carcassonne receives 3M visitors a year to its cite and for boating on the Canal du Midi.

Carcassonne is easily accessible from all directions as it is on the main train line with many regular train services. When you arrive at the gare de Carcassonne, you see to the left the canal and ahead great old lower town rues.

One interesting spot in the medieval citadel, is the grand Hotel de la Cite - in the 1920s, this hotel became 'the' stop-over for the rich and famous travelling between Nice and Biarritz, as they did regularly! The sign-in registers display many notable guests (from Colette to Johnny Depp) and the breakfast room has photos of past VIP's. The library bar is very old world.

Walking around the medieval cobblestone streets and shops/cafes within the ramparts is wonderful. See our facebook photos from when we stayed: hotel, rues.

 

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