la cité médiévale de carcassonne vue du ciel

The Medieval City

2500 years of History

A real medieval town free of access 24h/7.

Porte Narbonnaise at Carcassonne in France

An access Free District 24h/7

Located on the right bank of the Aude, the City, a medieval town still inhabited, has 52 towers and 2 concentric walls totalling 3km of ramparts. Access is free, day and night, through the Narbonnaise Gate and the Aude Gate, and a large part of the Medieval City can be visited freely. Fully enjoy your visit thanks to the guided tours given by the Tourist Office all year round during the day and in the evening by approved guide !

© J.Roche - Ville de Carcassonne

Find many activities in the Medieval City!

District

The Medieval City

To visit Carcassonne is to take a journey back in time to 2500 years ago…..Nestled at the top of a hill, the Medieval City dominates the whole city and is said to be one of the best preserved medieval ensembles in the world. Come and discover this jewel of our history and stroll through its charming streets and alleys. It is a real immersion in the Middle Ages.

Your guided tours of the Medieval City by day

The secrets and history of the Medieval City of Carcassonne are revealed to you by your guide who will tell you the history of this great monument and give you the keys to make the most of it.

  1. Classic Visit
  2. Special Visit for Children (in french only)

A real cultural walk which will allow you to see the medieval city from another point of view…

Your Night Tours of the Medieval City

When it’s too hot during the day, night visits are the ideal way to discover the Medieval City in complete peace.

Until 31 August, enjoy the mystical atmosphere of summer nights every evening to (re)discover the City. (Only in French)

 

  • No reservation at the moment
© Thomas Sananes
© PalabradeMadre

The Castle of the Counts & Attached Ramparts

Located in the heart of the medieval quarter of Carcassonne, this imposing castle was built in the 12th century by the Trencavels and was modified over the following centuries.

  • Entrance fee of 9.50€ & Free for under 26 years old for the unguided visit.

  • Visit with audio guide or a guide possible with supplement

  • Regular exhibitions and events

Current event

Halloween in Carcassonne

What better way to enjoy the Halloween atmosphere than to spend a few days in Carcassonne? Be surrounded by towers, ramparts and historic buildings of all kinds, and maybe you’ll even come across some ghosts as you walk down an alley…

Wander through the streets of Carcassonne with the henchmen of Dame Carcas and tremble over scary stories.

 

Visits, Workshops & Demonstrations

atelier Calligraphie Carcassonne

MEDIEVAL WORKSHOP: CALLIGRAPHY

The Calligraphy workshop a unique moment to reveal all the…
atelier coiffe et danses médiévales carcassonne

HEADDRESS AND MEDIEVAL DANCES WORKSHOP

The workshop Making headdresses and medieval dances a unique moment…
atelier heraldique carcassonne ete

HERALDIC WORKSHOP

The Heraldic workshop a unique moment to reveal all the…
epices moyen-age halloween carcassonne

COOKING WORKSHOP IN THE MIDDLE AGES: SPICES AND FLAVORS

Medieval cuisine was rich in flavors, smells and colors. Spices…
DISCOVER HISTORY IN

the Medieval City of Carcassonne

Discover the architectural gems of the Medieval City of Carcassonne by walking along the streets and ramparts. Don't hesitate to get lost and wander around to discover as much as possible. The history of Carcassonne echoes on the cobblestones and you will feel the medieval atmosphere getting stronger as you go deeper into the heart of the city.

Film VR Carcassonne TIS
CARCASSONNE - CITE MEDIEVALE

VR MOVIE : THE MEDIEVAL CITY, WHAT A STORY !

Film VR 2 Vie quotidienne du Moyen-ÂGE 2
CARCASSONNE - CITE MEDIEVALE

VR MOVIE : DAILY LIFE IN THE MIDDLE AGES

BASILIQUE SAINT NAZAIRE
CARCASSONNE - CITE MEDIEVALE

SAINT NAZAIRE BASILICA

IMG_1102
CARCASSONNE - CITE MEDIEVALE

HAUNTED HOUSE

IMG_1308
CARCASSONNE - CITE MEDIEVALE

THE INQUISITION MUSEUM

SCHOOL MUSEUM
CARCASSONNE - CITE MEDIEVALE

SCHOOL MUSEUM

Petit train Cité©Sébastien Carles (2)
CARCASSONNE - CITE MEDIEVALE

THE CITADEL'S LITTLE TRAIN

Outdoor Escape Game in the Medieval City

The director of the city’s museums calls for your help in discovering the relics of a mysterious “Order of the Cathar Knights“, as their mystery has lasted for over five hundred years. Join the quest, whose pace is accelerated by the competition of collectors! The director has gathered for you information that was previously kept secret. These will allow you to solve the riddles and finally open the sacred CRYPTEX!

  • Difficult Game, recommended from 12 years old
  • Approximately 1 hour

  • Free access 24h/7

  • Start in front of the statue of Dame Carcas

TREASURE HUNT BOX

The Secret Assembly of Dame Carcas

Like King Arthur, Dame Carcas, the famous ruler of the city, also wants to form a secret order to help and advise her and ensure the peace of the city. To do this, she has concocted a series of riddles that you will have to solve to discover the motto and become part of the secret assembly of Dame Carcas.

A fun and educational treasure hunt to discover the medieval city in a different way, made in France and environmentally responsible.

  • Available 21 rue Cros Mayrevieille
Chasse au trésor au coeur de la Cité Médiévale de Dame Carcas, venez en aide à Dame Carcas

The Medieval City : 2500 years of History

VIe BC
Foundation of the oppidum on the mound of the City.
IIe BC
Arrival of the Romans on the Carcaso oppidum. They developed stone fortifications at the end of Antiquity (late 3rd - early 5th AD)
507 AD
The Visigoths occupied the present-day Lower Languedoc. The town now called Carcasona became one of the border towns.
1082
Beginning of the Trencavel dynasty. The town becomes exceptionally influential and a stronghold.
1659
Treaty of the Pyrenees, marriage of Louis XIV to the Infanta of Spain. The border with Spain retreated and Carcassonne was no longer considered an advanced military defence post. From that moment on, the city gradually fell into disuse.
1852
Restoration of the medieval city of Carcassonne by Viollet-le-Duc so that the city regains its splendour. It will last until 1879.

The Medieval City is easily accessible

The Medieval City of Carcassonne is ideally located in the city of Carcassonne and in the Occitanie region. With a direct exit from the A61 motorway, an international airport and a TGV / TER SNCF line (train).

But also :

  • 3 car parks nearby
  • 3 bus lines
  • 1 small train & 1 Touc
  • a 30 minutes walk from the train station
©Sébastien Carles
© Vincent Photographie

Your walk in the heart of the district

With its typically medieval appearance, the City has been the setting for many film shoots and offers magnificent views of the ramparts and the Bastide Saint-Louis. At the end of the day it is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Get your cameras out and enjoy!

To walk around the City, don’t hesitate to walk in the Lices, an area set up between the two ramparts allowing you to discover the different characters of the military architecture and to take advantage of the superb viewpoints on the mountains and the Bastide Saint Louis. The string of towers is truly impressive.

© Office Municipal de Tourisme de Carcassonne

The Legend of Dame Carcas

During the Saracen occupation, the Emperor Charlemagne laid siege to the town of Carcassonne. The Saracen king Ballak was killed and it was left to his wife, Dame Carcas, to intervene to save her people.

After five years of siege the last defenders died of starvation, so Dame Carcas set up dummies made of straw and shot crossbow bolts at the besieging army to make it look as there were still plenty of defenders.

All that was left in the city to feed the population was one small pig and a measure of wheat. She decided to force-feed her pig with the remaining wheat and to throw it over the ramparts.

Upon hitting the ground, the pig burst open and from its torn belly came a flood of fine wheat.

Charlemagne immediately raised a siege that served no purpose: there was so much wheat in Carcassonne that they fed the pigs with it! Before the great army left, Dame Carcass called back Charlemagne to make peace. She ordered the trumpets to be sounded – in French, “Carcas sonne”. And so the emperor turned back to receive her allegiance!

And that is how Dame Carcas saved her people and the town came to be called Carcassonne.

Don’t hesitate to come and greet her at the Narbonnaise Gate.

 

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Experiences

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The Top 11 most beautiful views of the Medieval City

Sophie, our budding photographer, offers you her 13 favourite places for an exceptional view of the Medieval City of Carcassonne.

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