Carcassonne; Medieval Relic or Disneyland?

Carcassonne has been “on my list” for a while. It looks terribly romantic; a walled fortress and castle complete with turrets, archways etc. I had heard that it is also terribly touristy but that didn’t put me off.

We arrived at night and were thrilled to see the battlements all lit-up. 

It was interesting to walk around and see this medieval fortress (although most of it wasn’t original, and was “done up” in the 1800s where they added features which aren’t authentic from the era when it was built like the pointy rooves). Nevertheless, it has some lovely features.

There are plenty of gift shops, sweet shops, and coach-loads of tourists including kids, probably on a school trip or similar. There are hotels and restaurants inside the castle too, so you can try to seek out a quiet corner and have a bite to eat.

It is also worth walking the path between the two outer walls, as this is a lovely stroll.  

We walked down towards the river and Carcassonne town centre, and were rewarded by lovely views back over the castle.

The New Town part of Carcassonne isn’t much to look at, to be honest. We went there thinking that we might eat there, but ended up heading back to the castle after a quick wander. There were a couple of nice squares, and shops and cafes, but overall it was a much smaller place than I had anticipated.

Overall I am very glad we went. It was interesting to see and undoubtedly pretty, but overall it was too touristy for me so it did not live up to expectations. I had expected to LOVE it, and i just didn’t. I would recommend time-budgeting no more than one day here, or even seeing it in a few hours on a day trip.

next blog: Collioure, France

previous blog: Rail Bike, Larzac, France

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