France is the most popular country that tourists like to visit. The country is studded with thousands of fine restaurants and hotels, highways and byways that are in excellent condition, express auto routes connect every region to main cities (these are toll routes), and most importantly, there are hundreds of medieval towns that can be visited comfortably. In some, you must park your car outside the city centre and walk, as is the case in Carcassonne, or Riquewihr and many others.
Carcassonne located in the south and east of Toulouse close to the Mediterranean Seas, with a population of less than 50 000, is a world famous “fortress town” that was founded by Visigoths in the fifth century B C, but was “fortified” when Romans captured it in 100 A D.
Before Visigoths appeared on the scene indigenous tribes were living in the region.
UNESCO declared Carcassonne a World Heritage Site in 1997.
The city consists of two distinct parts – the Fort with its two outer walls, drawbridges and the lower part.
The Fort is the most attractive visitor attraction. In the lower city cobblestone alleys meander the inner city.
While Roman generals were the first to recognize the strategic importance of Carcassonne’s location and built the fort the city’s most significant chapter was written in the 13th century when the Albigensian Crusader of the Catholic Church attacked the Cathars for their heretical beliefs. Crusaders (reportedly 20 000) by order of Arnaus Amaury, a church leader on the campaign.
The Fort with its many towers, thick walls and imposing hilltop location is illuminated at night and attracts the majority of tourists, followed by the Basilica of St. Nazaire, city centre, and the Cathedral.
Boat cruises on the Canal du Midi start in Carcassonne.
The city thrived due to its strategic trade route and location, and built an industry to produce textiles, shoes and rubber, but today the main industry is tourism.
Many cheap flights are provided by airlines that fly direct from Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow, Charleroi, Bournemouth, and London (Stansted airport).
Major continental cities are connected by bus or rail.
Carcassonne can be easily accessed from Bordeaux or Toulouse, from Lyon by rail and anywhere in France or eastern Spain by ca.
Carcassonne-toruism.com is a very informative web site and the office arranges tours of the region.