Carcassonne: The Jewel of Languedoc

The citadel of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region looks like a medieval film set. The spectacular walled town is one of France’s most famous national monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on one of our Languedoc bike tours you can discover all the citadel’s secrets. Originally a Roman settlement, then a medieval walled town, it was built between the 12th and 14th centuries and restored in the 19th century by Viollet le Duc. The River Aude and the Canal du Midi separate the citadel from the lower town.


Things to see: In the medieval citadel: the Narbonne Gate, which defended the entrance to the fortified town; the Trésau tower; the ‘lists’ – large open spaces where tournaments and jousts were once held; the 12th century Count’s Castle; the Aude Gate; the 11th and 14th century basilica of Saint Nazaire and Saint Celse; the La Vade Tower; the old town where local craftsmen still practice traditional crafts. In the lower town: the old bridge – ‘Pont Vieux’ – over the river Aude; Murat’s town house, decorated with tapestries; the Museum of Fine Arts and Municipal Library; the 18th century Neptune’s Fountain in the Place Carnot; the Gothic St Michael’s cathedral, Saint Vincent’s church; the 13th century Carmelite chapel. Also see the ‘Maison des Mémoires’ – one of the fabulous old houses known as ‘hôtels’ – which was once the home of the poet, Joë Bousquet, and now houses a center of Cathar studies and the old city archives. Events: eagle flying displays on Pech Mary Hill from June to September; festivals of dance, theatre and music in July; grand firework display on July 14th; Medieval Festival with jousting tournaments and concerts in August!

Carcassonne is certain to be one of the highlights of your bike holiday in France!

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