Carcassonne is separated into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne (a Unesco world heritage site) located high on a rock and the more expansive lower city or bastide, the ville basse.
Folklore has it that Charlemagne held the Cité under siege for five years in the 7th Century. Within the walls their numbers gradually dwindled due to thirst and hunger but Lady Carcas had dummy warriors made out of straw placed on the ramparts to create the illusion that they were still strong. When they finally ran out of food and were down to their last pig and a sack of wheat, Lady Carcas realised she would have to surrender. Out of utter frustration she let the pig gorge itself on the wheat and then threw it over the wall at her enemies. The pig exploded as it hit the ground and the startled besiegers thought there must be an abundance of food if they could afford to feed their livestock in such a way. Unbeknown to Lady Carcas, Charlemagne was already getting bored, so he gave up and went back to Germany.
Carcassonne was struck from the roster of official fortifications under Napoleon and the Restoration, and it fell into such disrepair that the French government decided that it should be demolished. In the early 19th Century the Cité was to be sold off and torn down for its masonry blocks but there was such an uproar that it was saved. The architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was brought in to renovate it - a task that took him and his craftsmen, continuing after his death, 35 years to complete.
The restoration was strongly criticized during Viollet-le-Duc's lifetime. Fresh from work in the north of France, he made the error of using slates and restoring the roofs as pointed cones, where local practice was traditionally of tile roofing and low slopes, in a snow-free environment. Yet, overall, Viollet-le-Duc's achievement at Carcassonne is agreed to be a work of genius, though not of strictest authenticity.
The fortification consists of a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers and provided Walt Disney with the inspiration for the castle in his version of 'The Sleeping Beauty'.
Nearby Castelnaudary is famous for its delicious cassoulet, a traditional local dish made of beans, duck and sausage.
The climate and weather in Carcassonne due to its situation in the Mediterranean, offers one of the best and sunniest climates of the whole of France - there are more than 300 days of sunshine per year! Carcassonne and its region are attractive all year round.
Standing between two historic landmarks, the Hôtel de la Cité is set in its own glorious gardens. Each of its 42 guestrooms and 19 Suites are furnished and decorated with more than a dash of aristocratic style.
Daniel Minet becomes the youngest chef ever to be awarded a Michelin star at the Ambrosia Hotel and Restaurant in Pezens.
You are offered a warm welcome and the promise of a lovely meal in the pleasant ambiance of the restaurant or the terrace in the summer.
Carrefour la Madeleine, 11170 Pezens
Tél: 04.68.24.92.53 Mobile: 06.10.96.36.66
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Site: ambrosia-pezens.com
La Bergerie is a charming hotel-restaurant situated on the edge of the medieval village of Aragon, at the foothills of the Montagnes Noires (Black Mountains), only minutes north of Carcassonne, in the Languedoc-Roussillon, South of France.
Priscilla and Fabien Galibert, related to the owners of the well-known Le Parc restaurant in Carcassonne, transformed an old sheep fold (hence the name La Bergerie) in 2004 into a hotel with 8 spacious rooms, pool and restaurant.
Côté de Pech Marie, 11600 Aragon, France | 04 68 26 10 65
email@example.com | labergeriearagon.com
Restaurant Bernard Rigaudis @ Domaine d'Auriac
The dining room with cloth in rare and precious fabric continues on terraces into the gardens, facing the golf course.
The Chef, Philippe Deschamps, offers a traditional, regional cuisine, with beautiful meat dishes, game in season, fish from local fishers and the dishes of our ancestors.
Route de Saint Hilaire, BP 554, 11009 Carcassonne Cedex - France
Tel : (33) (0)4 68 25 72 22 - Fax : (33) (0)4 68 47 35 54
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Château St-Martin "Trencavel"
Very comfortable restaurant
HAMEAU DE MONTREDON, RUE A. MARTY - 11000 CARCASSONNE Tel.: 04 68 71 09 53
An attractive 14C/17C building in parkland, flanked by a 12C tower. Discreet interior decorated with a mural and pleasant summer terrace. Classic cuisine.
Le Parc Franck Putelat
Very comfortable restaurant A very good restaurant in its category
80 CHEMIN DES ANGLAIS - 11000 CARCASSONNE Tel.: 04 68 71 80 80
The restaurant below Carcassonne is as sophisticated as its inventive modern cuisine. Bright minimalist dining room overlooking the countryside.
The beautifully preserved medieval city of Carcassonne is always worth a visit - especially during the cultural feast held annually during the long, hot month of July. The festival combines music, theatre, opera and dance, performed among the historic honey-coloured buildings of this walled city such as the Grand Théâtre Antique, Basilique Saint Nazaire and the Cour du Château. For full details of the program, please visit the festival website.
The Jesuit College Chapel in Carcassonne fills with the sounds of jazz for a week every April. Big bands, trios, sextets and soloists provide some high-quality music.