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Europe   >   France


Carcassonne is a city in southern France, best known for its UNESCO World Heritage listed walled city. It can be visited comfortably as a day trip. Among board game enthusiasts, the city may ring a bell as the inspiration for the 2000 German board game of the same name.

Carcassonne is divided into two main parts: The Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval fortress settlement with a history that exceeds two and a half thousand years. Picturesque fortifications (over 3 km of walls with 52 towers, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was partly shot here) were reconstructed by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century but, as with most monuments reconstructed in those times, authenticity was not the main objective. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

The town centre, known as the ville basse (literally 'lower city'), where the other sights and hotels are located. Carcassonne was one of the centers of the Cathars and was fought over during the Albigensian Crusade in the early 1200s; the Crusaders took it, the Cathars took it back, and the Crusaders took it again.

Much to see in this somewhat neglected region of France. Get into the hills and visit little villages like Minerve. Try using the Michelin maps but forsake the red roads and take to the little white roads. You will be rewarded by seeing lovely little places that tour buses never visit. Carcassonne can also be visited departing from Toulouse.

- Wikivoyage

Image by Mesut Kaya

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