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“Reputedly the inspiration for Disney's magic castle!”

Carcassonne Medieval City
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US$23.03*
and up
Self-Guided 8-Hour City Tour from Toulouse to Carcassonne
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US$175.75*
and up
Medieval Cité of Carcassonne Guided Tour for 2 Hours
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US$167.26*
and up
Carcassonne Sightseeing Tour
Ranked #1 of 73 things to do in Carcassonne
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed 6 May 2014

Carcassonne was supposedly one of the main inspirations for Disney's castle and you can easily see why when here. Undoubtedly one of the best castle-cities anywhere in the world, full of shops and restaurants, a couple of hotels (at least) and the cathedral. The main entrance is normally full of shoulder-to-shoulder tourists in the summer, but once inside it thins out. Entrance to the city is free but there is a charge for the tour of the ramparts which is well worth the effort. You can walk around the city between the inner and outer walls and look down on the outside city for free - which is not normally crowded. The cathedral is plain inside except for the fine stained windows. There are lots of fairly basic tourist restaurants and a fantastic Italian ice cream shop in the center which serves very hard to find liquorice ice cream - great! You can easily spend all day here. There is a charge for car parking right outside the main entrance but you can park for free in town and walk up the hill to the castle and marvel at the outside walls and turrets as you catch your breath,..

1  Thank Granada100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 May 2014

Walt Disney supposedly based his Magic Kingdom on the medieval city of Carcassonne and you can see why. Brilliantly restored in the 19th century, the city has a magical feel, especially if you get there early before the tourist hordes arrive. I recommend downloading the 'Labrynth' walk by writer, Kate Mosse, to guide you around, even if you haven't read the book. A visit to the Chateau Comptal is a must and, although we rented the audioguide, there is lots of information given as you stroll round which makes it a luxury. Also worth going back at night when the walls are floodlit. Best spot for a panoramic photo is the Pont Neuf.

Thank Lee P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2014

Inside it is very crowded with lots of small shops and restaurants. Still charming in its own way. we did a lot of walking around the inner walls. Parking could be a problem and people were parking half a kilometre away. We were lucky staying just outside the walls so could just walk in.

Thank janmaddox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2014

Carcassonne has been rebuilt albeit in the last 200 years to be one of the most outstanding cities in Europe-what could there be to dislike--if you have not been to Carcassonne, put it on your "must do" list!!
The history surrounding you in the city is awesome, the buildings are wonderful and on the tourist side this place is no rip off-loads of restaurants, mainly at reasonable prices,
If you visit in high season expect a few thousand others, go early in the year.

Thank GerryKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2014

To properly appreciate this city, you need to know its history. As it is, La Cité is a beautiful, walled city that speaks to the imagination. When there, one can almost feel the bustle of the city in the old days, with horse carts making their way over the cobblestone streets, beggars, soldiers in armor manning the walls, the old markets at the squares. But to understand it, knowledge of its history is necessary. To know this city fell victim to a number of sieges, one of which even an army of crusaders, inhabited by all sorts of people varying from the Romans to the Visigoths to the Cathars, it all adds to its magic. It adds value to the Château Comtal, where the Trencavels lived and operated from, to the gorgeous Saint Nazaire cathedral, and to the ramparts which one can nowadays walk freely. But if you're going to read anything about Carcassonne, read about the legend of Dame Carcas.

Entering and walking the city is free, the Saint Nazaire is free (beautiful stained glass windows!). For the Château Comtal admission fees apply most of the time, and information leaflets inside the Saint Nazaire cost 20 cts. In front of the main gate (Porte Narbonnaise) there are free public toilets, but they come without a seat or toilet paper so bring your own.

Upon entering the Château Comtal you'll find a leaflet stand in various languages, from which you can gather some interesting information. There are signs in English and French. If you're going to walk the facades, bring either your patience or a lance because you're probably going to get caught between two or more people belonging to the same group (who will stubbornly keep talking to each other over your head or your shoulder). I do not recommend walking the facades during high season.

La Cité offers breathtaking views on its surroundings, from right onto the lower city to the nearby vinyards and far-away villages that are like whitle speckles on a painter's canvas, with even the Pyrenees visible in the background on days when the weather is clear.

However those who go during high season will find themselves disillusioned. Even in March the city is full of tourists and French high school students, and can make passing through the city quite frustrating. I can only imagine what it must be like in Summer.
The city itself is littered with souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels, and attractions, of which one even a haunted house. Everything has been done to accommodate the visitor, and while this is convenient it also steals away the charm of the Middle Ages. There are ATMs but they're quite hidden (look for a pale grey sign with a rather artistic euro sign on it)

I rate this a 5 out of 5. When in Carcassonne I couldn't stay away from the old city. Each day I walked the walls and explored different areas of the inner city. Regardless of tourism exploitation, this city tells so many stories it's hard not to listen. Truly magical.

1  Thank Sabrina V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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