Discovery of the medieval city of Carcassonne
Réservez votre séjour dans l’Aude !

Discovery of the medieval city of Carcassonne

A stay in Cathar country at the campsite in the Aude Domaine de La Palme in the Aude is a must with history and castles. Are you wondering what to do in the Aude? Why not take advantage of your holiday in Occitania to visit one of the most beautiful medieval complexes in France? Head for the city of Carcassonne.

Where is the Cité de Carcassonne?

The city of Carcassonne is situated about 30km northwest of the 3-star campsite Domaine de La Palme. This fortified city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was built on the banks of the river Aude. Its ramparts stretch for 3 km and have 52 towers. This exceptional site is easily accessible from the campsite via the A9 motorway to Narbonne, then A61. It is strategically located in the south of France, between the Pyrenees and the Black Mountain.

A little history...

The origin of the city of Carcassonne goes back to the Gallo-Roman period. The oppidum was equipped with ramparts in the 3rd century and the Visigoths took it over in the 5th century. The city and its ramparts developed strongly during the medieval era, with the construction of the cathedral and the château comtal between the 11th and 12th centuries. Under Louis IX, the city of Carcassonne, under the control of the kingdom of France, was equipped with a second wall. It was a key element of the defence system on the border between France and Aragon. Apart from the Wars of Religion, the site experienced a period of calm before being gradually abandoned from the 17th century onwards. It lost its strategic interest after the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees which established the borders between France and Spain.

It was converted into an arsenal and a prison during the Revolution. In 1835, the historian Jean-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille was the first to mention the need to protect and restore this architectural jewel. The restoration was entrusted to Viollet-le-Duc. In 1903, the management of the city of Carcassonne was entrusted to the Ministry of Fine Arts. Its tourist potential was quickly discovered and exploited, becoming one of the most beautiful medieval complexes in Europe and one of the most visited cultural sites in Occitania.

What to see in the city of Carcassonne?

Basilique Saint-Nazaire : This former cathedral built in the 12th century was given the status of basilica in 1898 under the impulse of Pope Leo XIII.

Château Comtal : This building was erected for defensive purposes by the Viscounts of Carcassonne in the 12th century. Its enclosure was built a century later. It includes several round towers, a barbican and an entrance châtelet.

Porte narbonnaise : This imposing gate was raised at the end of the 13th century under the reign of Philippe III le Hardi. It was restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century.

Porte d'Aude : Between the river and the château comtal, the Porte d'Aude is distinguished by its medieval architecture which has earned it several appearances in cult films such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or The Visitors.

Théâtre de la Cité Médiévale : Installed at the beginning of the 20th century on the site of the Saint-Nazaire cloister, it hosts the Festival de la Cité every summer.

Les Lices : A perfect place to contemplate the Montagne Noire and the Bastide Saint-Louis, and to get a good overview of the military architecture of the Cité de Carcassonne.

The ramparts : A 3 km long enclosure with 52 towers, part of which dates back to the Gallo-Roman period.

Grand Puits : The oldest well in the Cité de Carcassonne, with its elegant columns, borders and ironwork. It is here that the treasure of the Temple of Solomon would be hidden.

Visit the Cité de Carcassonne

Do you dream of putting on your armour and immersing yourself in the Middle Ages? The Cité de Carcassonne is a must-see during a camping holiday in the Aude. The site, which appeals to both adults and children, is suitable for all ages and all audiences.

Schedules and prices

Guided tours are organised every day from 10am to 8.30pm in high season (July to end of September), from 9.30am to 5pm between October and December.

  • Adults: €13 to €17
  • Children (7-18 years old): €6 to €8
  • Students: from €7.50

Free for children under 7 and jobseekers

Travelling with friends? Special rates are available for groups.