Carcassonne is a fortified French city in the south of France, located in the region of Occitanie. The city was the seat of power of the Counts of Carcassonne, and then of the famous Trencavel family in the 12th century. Following the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229), when the Royal forces seized Carcassonne, accusing it of complicity with the Cathars, it became a Royal fortress governed by a seneschal.
In the 19th century, the city was on the verge of demolition and was used as a stone quarry. For over 50 years (1853-1911), Viollet-le-Duc and his successor Paul Boeswillwald gave it back its medieval appearance, destroying the secondary constructions between the outer walls, using grey roofing stone for the towers, and restoring the décors and hoardings. In the 1960s, the Gallo-Roman towers were topped with tiles.
Carcassonne has plenty to offer to visitors today. Take a guided tour of the magnificent medieval citadel, Cité de Carcassonne, and find out about its rich history. With 52 towers and walls that distance 1.9 miles surrounding the citadel, explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site and see for yourself what life was like for those who lived inside the cité. Don't forget to pay a visit to the Château Comtal and ramparts to learn how the city defended itself against sieges during the medieval period.
There are numerous museums that are worth visting during your time in Carcassonne. Visit the Musee de l'Inquisition (Museum of the Inquisition) and see the different torture methods and instruments used during the Spanish and French inquisitions. If you prefer something a bit less extreme, you can learn about the education system in the 19th century at the Musee de l'Ecole.
Pick up the perfect souvenir for yourself or a family member at one of the many boutiques and artisan shops to help remember your time spent inside this medieval beauty!