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How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Toronto, Canada
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How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

My husband and I plan to visit Carcassonne in September. We will be coming from Nice via car, and have booked 2 nights at the Montmorency Hotel. We are considering changing our plans to one night, will an afternoon and morning be enough time here?

Harstad, Norway
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1. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

I would say Carcassonne is a typical half day excursion. The walled city is magnificent, the rest I find rather uninteresting (followed the suggested walk in the Michelin Green Guide) I live on the coast around 60 kms away, all my guests have gone there for half a day and it has been enough.

London, Canada
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2. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Yes, one night will be enough. We spent only an afternoon after driving from Uzes and didn't feel shortchanged.

As well, that will give you another night in Nice.....or your next destination.

Montpellier, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier
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3. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

It is worth stopping to see Aigues Mortes on the way back.

Aigues Mortes is an original 12thC walled city, whereas Carcassonne is a late 18thC replica.

Peter

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for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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4. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Perrsonally, I would recommend that you not even visit Carcasonne.

Yes, we have been there - but we found it to be WAY to commercial, and it isn't even really a

historical site. Why? Because, in all honesty, it is just a late 19th - early 20th centurary replication of what someone thought represented a walled Medieval city / space.

Yes, it is picturesque, but it is NOT the real thing - so, since there are so many "REA" things and places" in the south of France, why would you visit a fake one - even if it is stunning ???

Instead - Check out places like Aigues Mortes, Les Baux-de-Provence, Avignon etc. if you want to visit Medieval sites - they are REAL, and more than a little bit more interesting.

Also, keep in mind that there are also a host of fabulous Roman ruin sites thorughout the South of France.

Rowlett, Texas
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5. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Do see Carcassonne and as an earlier poster said, do Aigues Mortes. Much more fun than Carcassone. One night each...

Westbrook, Maine
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6. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Yes, it is very touristy - a bunch of gift shops and ticky-tacky museums - and it is largely a reconstruction. However, at night it is quite magical, so if you do go, try to be there at dusk onward.

Montpellier, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier
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7. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Glad to see that others agree with the Disneylike appeal of Carcassonne.

A few pics of genuine ancient sites in the area beginning with the letter A :

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

the-languedoc-page.com/photos/languedoc-phot…

B - Z : the-languedoc-page.com/photos/…gallery.php !

Peter

Peter

Nottingham, UK
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8. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Depends what you're after. We spent a week there at the Montmorency as well (admittedly during the festival period) and didn't get bored. There are some genuinely old things in the town and it does seem to be a French ploy to rebuild ancient monuments in the style they once had. The lower town is nice, if bland, but the Canal de Midi is worth a day's walking or cycling on its own and the surrounding towns and villages are well worth it too.

If you're visiting on a box-ticking basis, then yep a day or two will do. But if not, then slow down and take it all in.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

Thanks everyone, we are not sure now if we want to drive all this way to see it.....(we are spending 3 nights in Nice, then thinking 1 night Carcassonne, then 4 nights in Provence, 1 night Beaune, 3 night Amboise, then on to London.....) alot of driving but will be fun!

Paris, France
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10. Re: How much time to allow for Carcassonne?

I have been to Carcassonne. I love it and so do others but just as many people find it too touristy. To each his own. I hear many people say that it is just a 19th century reconstruction and this is not true. Some inauthentic features were added by Viollet-le-Duc (primarily the roof structures on the towers) due to the neo-gothic mindset popular at the time of its renovation and were done in the spirit of the day. I've seen some before and after pictures from the renovation period and indeed many portions were reconstructed authentically. Viollet le Duc based the restoration on very detailed, methodical and serious archaeological studies of the site. You can see the detailed drawings he did as it was prior to his renovation and compare them to his drawings for proposed reconstruction. Do people say they won't visit Notre Dame because Viollet-le-Duc added gargoyles that weren't original? Notre Dame was a ruin before Viollet-le-Duc and even though he may have added some fanciful features what he left behind was a thing of beauty, regardless of whether or not it is an authentic reproduction. Why is no one so critical of Notre Dame?

If people can't tell the difference between Carcassonne and the fairy tale castle at Disneyland then they should go visit Disneyland. Carcassonne is a UNESCO world heritage site, it is unique in Europe due to its size and state of conservation. Carcassonne was in a state of ruin before restoration but its foundations and essential infrastructure was still there, despite the fact that it had been used as a quarry for building material prior to restoration.

People, I think, are unaware of how educated a scholar of medieval architecture Viollet-le-Duc was. I think many people are unaware of the long and rich history of the city and especially of its importance during the time of the Cathar persecution. All they see are the throngs of tourists of today. Yes, it is full of touristy souvenir stores selling plastic swords but if you read a little bit about its history you will be prepared to imagine yourself back in the day when you visit. I am very thankful that the 19th century had such a man of vision as Viollet le Duc. Otherwise, innumerable monuments which attract visitors by the millions each year to France would not be here for us to enjoy.

A historic monument is more than just the physical thing you see before you. It is the history which took place there more than the physical elements which make such places important.

If you want to learn more about Carcassonne and Viollet le Duc here is a link to the official website:

http://www.carcassonne.culture.fr/index.html

Here is a link to the UNESCO site for Carcassonne:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/345/

Edited: 18 August 2010, 20:20