Coming from Aèroport De Carcassonne
Château de Samary, originally built for a 19th century vigneron close to Carcassonne and set in approximately 2.5 ha of parkland which was once a vineyard. The property boasts 600 m2 of living space with beautiful original features including wood floors and lovely ceilings. Outbuildings include a housekeeper’s house with 3 bedrooms and an enormous barn which are due to be renovated. In the early 1900’s the local Government became concerned about local alcohol consumption and after a survey reached the conclusion that the average resident in this part of France was consuming in the region of a litre of wine a day, after which many vineyards were forcibly closed down to limit supply.
Situated conveniently 5 minutes from Carcassonne airport and nearest shops and services, it is extremely well located. The Mediterranean Sea is 45-50 minutes away, by car.
The City of Carcassonne is one of the most visited medieval Cities in the world and coupled with the Canal du Midi, features among France’s most popular tourist destinations outside of Paris.
The history of Vin de Pays d’Oc wines can be traced back to the 5th century when the Greeks planted the first vineyards near Narbonne. Along with parts of Provence, these are considered to be France’s oldest vineyards.
Despite being an important winemaking center for centuries, the region is often considered the “new world” region of France. The region has been undergoing a quality revolution over the last 20 years, particularly since many of its wines became part of the AOC system.
With 740,300 acres of vineyards — approximately one-third of the country’s vineyards and wine production — the region is three times the size of Bordeaux and the world’s largest vineyard area.
Renaissance towns and gothic architecture dot the quiet coastline, ideal for relaxing, which is a vast difference from the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc, considered to be prime hiking territory in the southernmost point of the Massif Central. The area covers more than 1000 square miles of mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests.
Seafood is an essential part of the south of France’s cuisine, with many miles of oyster, mussel, and whelk beds. Meat lovers can enjoy the southwest’s most celebrated dish, cassoulet, which includes haricot beans, sausage, and confit of duck or goose.
The region is known for medium and full-bodied reds, crisp dry rosés, and sparkling white wines, as well as sweet red and white wines. It is home to numerous grape varieties including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. The traditional Rhône grapes of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, and Viognier are also prominent here
The historic town of Carcassonne is in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, 90 kilometres south-east of Toulouse. It is certainly one of the most interesting and impressive medieval towns in the world. Carcassonne has a long and fascinating history dating back to the Cathar Wars in which it played an important role.
It is divided into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more extensive lower city, the ville basse. It is the Cité de Carcassonne that is of interest to visitors. The fortress was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997, and is also a listed National Monument of France.
Due to its position on historical routes across France the location has been occupied for more than 5,000 years, and it has been an important regional centre for 2,500 years. The town was first fortified by the Romans, and given the name Carcaso. After the Romans were driven out, Carcassonne fell into the hands of various invading tribes, and became more fortified and developed, especially after falling into the hands of the powerful Viscount Trencavel.
Later, at the start of the 13th century, the Albigensian Crusade under Simon de Montfort attacked and seized this cathar stronghold, and again more fortifications were added, sufficient to stop Edward the Black Prince from entering Carcassonne during the Hundred Years War.
Subsequently the location and town gained strategic importance because it was on the frontier between France and Spain. This position lost importance after 1659 when the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed, giving the town and region definitively to France – hence from the 17th century onwards the need for a fortified city passed and Carcassonne became an important regional town.
Carcassonne reached its low point at the middle of the 19th century, when a century of abandon had made it perilously dangerous and the government demanded it be demolished. The buildings within the city were inhabited but in very poor condition. The efforts of the mayor and the ancient monuments inspector had this decision overturned and the restoration of the town began shortly afterwards.
Carcassonne consists of a lower, external defensive wall surrounding a higher wall with many towers, which encloses the ancient town. In the town, in addition to the streets of medieval dwellings, are a cathedral and a chateau as well as a museum that explains the impact and story of the Albigensian crusade.
Commence your visit at the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) which crosses the River Aude, and was the original entry road to La Cité, the medieval walled town that has witnessed so much of the Languedoc’s bloody history. This crossing gives the visitor one of the best views of the city, so have your cameras at the ready!
From the outside, and some would say from the inside too, its towers and slate roofs make La Cité look as if it’s been transported from a storeroom on the Disney film lot. This is somewhat unfair, but the walls which enclose the Cite were extensively restored in a massive programme of rebuilding which began in 1844, and this does account for its pristine, built-yesterday appearance.
The Pont Vieux takes you onto the Rue Trivalle, a narrow lane lined with ancient houses, some which are now restaurants and antique shops. From there it’s a short walk to the Porte Narbonnaise, the main entrance to La Cité.
Once inside Carcassonne old town you are treated to a maze of winding, cobbled streets, and lots of wide-eyed tourists: la Cite is listed as a World Heritage Site status and it is one of the most-visited sites in Southern France. As a result it is without doubt overcommercialised, with gift shops selling the usual selection of postcards, tea cloths and guidebooks, but there are some chic boutiques, and dozens of restaurants catering for all
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Traditional bistrot cuisine of Languedoc
Monday to Saturday 12.00-13.00 & 19.30-21.00
1 place de La Poste 11170 Caux-et-Sauzens
Traditional cuisine of Languedoc and pizzas.
Tuesday to Sunday 19.30-14.30 & 18.00-23.00
38 Place de la Mairie, 11290 Arzens
Traditional Languedoc cuisine in the heart of the city center.
Monday & Tuesday 9.00-15.00
Wednesday to Saturday 9.00-15.00 & 18.00-2.00
Place Carnot, 11000 Carcassonne
Traditional cuisine of Languedoc plus pizzas.
Daily 12.00-14.00 & 19.00-22.00
4 rue Saint-Louis, 11000 Carcassonne
For meat lovers with a terrific atmosphere in a former butcher’s shop.
Tuesday & Wednesday 19.00-22.30
Thursday to Saturday 12.00-14.00 & 19.00-22.30
74 All. d’Iéna, 11000 Carcassonne
Traditional Languedoc cuisine in a splendid garden Italian Cusine
Tuesday to Saturday 12.00-14.30 & 19.30-22.00
1 Rue Benjamin Franklin, 11000 Carcassonne
Wednesday to Sunday 19.30-22.00
23-13 Quai Riquet Ude, 11000 Carcassonne
Contemporary cuisine of the region with a specialised limited menu.
Wednesday to Sunday 10.00-15.00 & 17.00-23.00
6 place des Tilleuls, 11170 Montolieu
Originally named the Canal royal en Languedoc (Royal Canal in Languedoc) and renamed
by French revolutionaries to Canal du Midi in 1789, the canal is considered one of the
greatest construction works of the 17th century.
The canal connects the Garonne to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean and, along
with the 193 km (120 mi) long Canal de Garonne, forms the Canal des Deux Mers, joining
the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
Strictly speaking, “Canal du Midi” refers to the portion initially constructed from Toulouse
to the Mediterranean – the Deux-Mers canal project aimed to link together several sections
of navigable waterways to join the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: first the Canal du Midi,
then the Garonne which was more or less navigable between Toulouse and Bordeaux, then
the Garonne Lateral Canal built later, and finally the Gironde estuary after Bordeaux.
Jean-Baptiste Colbert authorized the start of work by royal edict in October, 1666, with
the aim of developing the wheat trade, under the supervision of Pierre-Paul Riquet, and
construction lasted from 1666 to 1681, during the reign of Louis XIV. The Canal du Midi
is one of the oldest canals of Europe still in operation (the prototype being the Briare
Canal). The challenges in these works are closely related to the challenges of inland water
transport today. The key challenge, raised by Pierre-Paul Riquet, was to convey water from
the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) to the Seuil de Naurouze, the highest point of the
The Canal du Midi was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, because of
its outstanding engineering and artistic design, and it was designated as an International
Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 2016
Village of Books and Arts
74 All. d’Iéna, 11000 Carcassonne
Abbey Lagrasse and Fontfroide (60km)
Andorra is a tiny, independent principality situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. It’s known for its ski resorts and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping. Capital Andorra la Vella has boutiques and jewelers on Meritxell Avenue and several shopping centers.
Guided tour of the chasm daily from 10.00 to 17.30
Guided tour of the cave daily from 10.00 to 18.00