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Which side of the river to stay please?

Dorset
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Which side of the river to stay please?

We are planning a trip to Carcasonne early October. Please can you let me know which side of the river is best to stay? We are looking for a nice 2 bed apartment for 3 of us. We are aged 46 to 60 ish and just love the old alleyways and snickets and passages of medieval France. We also like to be close to some nice restaurants and bars. Thanks.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Which side of the river to stay please?

The only medieval part of Carcassonne is the Cité, which is full of restaurants and bars.

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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2. Re: Which side of the river to stay please?

La Cité is on the east side of the river Aude.

Val-de-Marne, France
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3. Re: Which side of the river to stay please?

The two medieval parts of Carcassonne are the Cité (the walled upper town) east of the river and the Ville Basse (the lower town, which has lost most of its wall except on the eastern side) on the west side of the river.

The difference is the Cité was mostly reconstructed in the 19th century in the medieval style so everything will look medieval but it is the super touristy part of town. It is the beautiful and spectacular part of Carcassonne.

The lower town is a medieval bastide as you can still see by its typical grid pattern of narrow streets, but like most old French towns, not many buildings remain from the Middle-Ages apart from religious buildings and the old bridge connecting the two towns. I am not sure about Carcassonne but would assume most of the residential old buildings standing now are 17th to 19th centuries as is often the case in French medieval town centers.

Both parts exude that old medieval feel but in a very different way. The upper town is a preserved / reconstructed medieval ensemble with only 300 inhabitants and depending solely on tourism whereas the lower town is an authentic lived-in town center which has evolved throughout centuries so you will find different architectures. It won't look as spectacular or immaculate as the Cité.

Like most tourists I have mostly made the Cité my destination so I don't really know the lower town and whether it is lively or not. If you can find accommodation in the Cité and don't mind being in tourist central, then it would probably be nicer. That's probably what I would choose especially since October is not peak tourist season (it will be busier if it's during the nationwide school vacation at the end of the month though). I assume most shops for groceries and services will be in the lower town as well as in outer districts outside the lower bastide so keep that in mind if convenience is an issue.

Edited: 16 August 2014, 14:41
Dorset
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4. Re: Which side of the river to stay please?

Many thanks for your help. I have now booked on the Cite side. :)

Dorset
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63 posts
20 reviews
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5. Re: Which side of the river to stay please?

Many thanks for your help. Much appreciated.

6. Re: Which side of the river to stay please?

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