France
Carcassonne

Here you’ll find travel reports about Carcassonne. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

44 travelers at this place:

  • Day13

    Paris to Carcassonne

    September 8, 2017 in France

    That was a bit of an adventure. The freak show was on the move, twaddling through the streets of Paris with our luggage to the Anvers Metro station, changed lines a few stops along, then meandered over to the regional line, waited two hours for our train to come, caught the train to Narbonne (lovely relaxing part of the journey) and then we jumped on the train from Narbonne to Carcassonne where the train people decided that oversubscribing the number of passengers was a jolly good idea so we were squeezed into a train with way too many people, their luggage and their bikes. The only thing missing from the scene was a chicken or two flapping around (here Craig and I think back to our journey to Taveuni with Neal and Kerry-Anne). Poor Kate was once again at the correct height to smell the underarms and bums of obese smokers ;-)

    Luckily, our AirBnB was less than a 5 minute walk from the train station where we were met by our host. After dumping the luggage we set of for the 25 minute walk to the medieval Cité de Carcassonne.

    This place was spectacular. It has a 2,500 year history, but by the 1850s had fallen into disrepair and was decreed to be demolished. Thankfully the locals strongly opposed the idea and there was a campaign to restore it. Since then it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with good reason. We were able to freely walk along the ramparts. This sort of thing continually amazes us, whereas in Australia all the area would be regulated to death in terms of heights where railings would be in place. Here, there are huge drops and you walk freely through the place.

    The streets inside are cobbled and winding with little shops. There were a lots of tourist shops, which many of the reviews I read were quite disparaging about. I don't necessarily think they detracted from the place at all and gave it a bit of a market town bustle and appeal.

    After circumnavigating, we found a restaurant in the main square and we all elected to have cassoulet - a local dish which is a casserole containing a pork sausage, a duck leg and white beans which in essence forms a thick gravy. We also had a very LARGE bier (500mls), the boys had more than one. As a result, it was necessary to walk the last bit of getting home very fast in order to prevent bladder explosion.
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  • Day417

    Today was a classic castle day. Carcassonne is a town in south-western France that's home to a castle of the same name, basically unchanged since the middle ages. It's considered one of the most intact and best preserved castles in the world.

    So we drove over and parked nearby, under sadly gloomy skies - but at least it wasn't raining! We wandered around the walls, very large and imposing! It's actually a double set of walls, one inside the other, with a total combined length of around 3km.

    Inside the city it's exactly what you'd expect a medieval city to be like; very cramped, hemmed in and narrow. But very atmospheric as well, despite all the tourist shops. Basically every business was catering to tourists in some way, whether it was selling placemats or magnets or wooden knight toys.

    Wandered around and enjoyed ourselves, picking out a few points of interest. Opted against going inside the castle since Schnitzel wasn't allowed in, and we'd heard reports that it wasn't super interesting inside anyway.

    Had a sit-down lunch of cassoulet, a local speciality - a white bean stew with pork broth and a Toulouse sausage, very tasty! By mid afternoon we were finished filming, so retreated back to the hotel under still gloomy skies. At least we hadn't really been rained on!
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  • Day22

    After yesterdays windy day it was more the same today. Now the canal may look pretty but as a cyclist it can get pretty boring pretty quick so I decided to jump up onto the roads and go through some of the small villages and towns. Only problem with this was the roads were even more exposed to the wind so after a few miles it was back to the canal and head down.

    By early afternoon and I'd had enough and had arrived in Carcassonne, a medival town famous for its 53 watchtowers and double walled fortifications making it a world heritage site so good place to stop have a wander around and a few beers watching the football.

    With the plan to head to the coast tomorrow and with the weather looking even worse with rain as well as the wind it could be interesting.
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  • Day165

    Carcassonne

    April 10, 2017 in France

    Forever known in our memories as DIsneyland In South of France. We think it was perhaps that this is Easter week and many people may be holidaying here. But gosh ... you could barely walk for the tourist multitudes. They even have a bas relief of Snow White! No kidding, the fortified town is a marvel, but come in winter!

  • Day16

    Carcassonne

    September 12, 2017 in France

    Yesterday we went on a train to go to CARCASSONNE. Our second train we went on was cramped a man that was smoking stood in front of my mum and he smelt horrible. .After 30m of standing on the train we walked to our very cozy accomodation and settled. Soon after that we went out for dinner at the castle of CARCASSONNE. There was great shops and a yummy Lollie shop. For dinner we had a French meal: Cassoulet with pork, duck and white beans. After a night we went to the station and waited for the rain to go. After lunch we saw 2 people doing the locks. When we got on the boat we went inside. Soon when the person stoped we went off. Around 5:00 we got some were to stay. About 1hour later we saw another boat pull at our area we called the INLAND.Read more

  • Day23

    Tag 20 // Harte Nuss

    September 8, 2016 in France

    oder Staub fressen. Beides passt sehr gut zum heutigen Tag. Dem aufmerksamen Leser wird sicher aufgefallen sein, dass es über den Tag keinen Post gab. Ein sicheres Zeichen für einen zähen und zermürbenden Etappenverlauf.

    Bei (mal wieder) Gegenwind wurde es immer wieder recht ungemütlich auf den Schotterwegen des Canal du Midi, zumal diese Wege auch gerne mal zu holprigen Pfaden werden. Für einen großen, schweren Menschen auf einem Straßenrad geradezu ideale Verhältnisse...

    Schiffbruch haben wir nicht erlitten, auch wenn es am Wegesrand manch passendes Motiv dazu gab. Hinzu kam auf den ersten Kilometern noch eine mäßig ausgeschilderte Umleitung und eine Bundesstraße, deren Kreuzung sich als komplexer als auf dem Navi angegeben herausstellte. Die bauliche Trennung der beiden Fahrstreifen bestand jedoch nur auf 100m, so dass wir über die jeweiligen Seitenstreifen daran vorbei fahren konnten.

    Kleine Anmerkung zu der Umleitung: Der Canal du Midi wurde in der Art einer Allee gebaut, so dass eigentlich durchgängig an beiden Seiten Bäume standen. Viele der Bäume drohen jedoch jetzt aufgrund eines Pilzbefalls abzusterben und womöglich umzustürzen. Daher wurden bereits Tausende Bäume (von wohl knapp 40.000) gefällt und müssen noch gefällt werden. Immer wieder können daher einzelne Abschnitte nicht befahren werden.

    Neben den Straßenkreuzungen kamen wir auch an einigen Flusskreuzungen vorbei. Mit entsprechend großem Aufwand wird dort der Kanal über einen natürlich verlaufenden Fluss hinweg geführt. Aber auch andere Brücken waren nicht minder interessant zu überfahren (siehe Fotos).

    Unser heutiges Hotel ist recht unspektakulär. Der Name Hotel Central verspricht zwar einiges, doch bis auf die Lage an einer zentralen Hauptverkehrsstraße können wir nichts besonderes feststellen. Morgen wird es interessant werden wo wir unterkommen, da es doch merklich dünner besiedelt werden wird in den Pyrenäen. Aber das sehen wir morgen.

    Jetzt erstmal Beine hochlegen und ausruhen, damit es morgen weitergehen kann.
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  • Day17

    Die hitzige Reise von gestern liegt noch in unseren Gemütern. Einen gechillten Tag mehr könnten alle gut vertragen. Leider ist unsere Weiterreise über die Loire nach Paris schon gebucht. Wir sind sehr früh reisebereit. Ca 500 km liegen vor uns. Immer wieder drängt sich der Gedanke über diese Out of Work Klimaanlage bedrohlich in mein Hirn. Ich vermeide es zu erwähnen. Wäre auch gar nicht möglich. Grundsätzlich ist ein Gespräch im Auto aktuell sehr schwer möglich. Und das liegt diesmal nicht an den schon erwähnten Kopfhörern. Ich würde feiern, wenn es nur Die wären! Da die Fenster jetzt mehrheitlich geöffnet sind, um den Fahrtwind in unser Auto zu leiten, sitzen wir alle lautstark im Wind. Die Haare fliegen wirr um unseren Kopf und in den Ohren donnert und rauscht es. Im möchte gar nicht daran denken, wie sich die Holzklasse in der 3. Reihe fühlt ( Amon und Carlotta). Während der Fahrt erfahren wir deren Leid aber nicht. Wir hören es ja nicht! Alles hat auch irgendwo sein Gutes;-) Ich würde unseren Weg in einen See, Fluss, Bach, Pfütze, irgendein Wasser leiten. Unser Weg führt uns aber nach Carcassonne. Eine beeindruckende Altstadt mit vielen alten Türmen - vielen Touristen - und - immer noch heiß. Trotzdem schleichen alle geduldsam durch die Stadt, in der Hoffnung, dass die Reise bald fortgesetzt wird.
    Belohnung für diese anstrengende Reise gibt es auf dem Campingplatz, unserer Zwischenstation für eine Nacht auf dem Weg in das Loire Tal. Das Zimmer ist noch nicht bezogen, aber die Kinder und ich springen blitzschnell aus dem Auto , um unverzüglich die Hitze von uns zu spülen und die gelähmten Autositzknochen wieder geschmeidig zu schwimmen. Die Kinder feiern den Campingplatz!

    https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cité_von_Carcassonne
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  • Day30

    At the end, the pot of gold

    September 22, 2017 in France

    Sadly, we packed our bags, more or less ready to move on to Carcassonne, our next destination. Our train was due to leave at the civilised time of 1455 from Gare Montparnasse, so we were still able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast Parisian style. After checking out, we gave ourselves an hour more of Parisian exploration before we'd take our lives in our hands on the Metro. We'd already seen enough excitement on the underground, and were fervently hoping for an incident-free trip to the main line station of Gare Montparnasse.

    In the meantime, we decided to explore a few streets we hadn't visited before in the area between Les Invalides and L'École Militaire. What a great group of shops were there, much more reasonably priced than on the Champs Élysées and just as interesting. That included a whole lot of new restaurants less touristy than the ones on Rue St Clair and Rue Dominique. Clearly, Paris was already beckoning us to come back for another visit. Our very helpful and friendly hotel receptionist had already told us that morning that we should try to visit Paris next time in July/August rather than in September. Not only is the weather better then but he said that the place is less crowded and prices are lower. It was the opposite from what we'd thought, but evidently major events such as Paris Fashion Week take place in September and draw huge crowds. We've made a mental note for next time.

    Eventually the time came for us to catch the Metro, a part of the trip which we weren't exactly looking forward to. With all their steep stairways up and down, some of the stations are quite challenging for people with luggage. We'd loaded most of our belongings into Brian's suitcase, and Mary bravely pushed on with her bag, but was struggling. (It wasn't all that easy for Brian either). Fortunately, there were so many younger and fitter passers-by who were willing to help her on those wretched stairs. We reached Gare Montparnasse in good time with about 90 minutes to spare before the scheduled departure time. These major stations are huge, with people milling about everywhere, and it isn't always easy to work out what one should do. Furthermore none of the announcements are in English, and the rapidly-gabbled announcements over a distorted PA system are way too challenging for Brian's basic French language skills.

    We knew that for security reasons or whatever the platform number for each train gets announced only 20 minutes before departure, after which there's a mad scramble to reach right coach on the right train on the right platform. So, when we got to five minutes before scheduled departure and our platform number still wasn't showing on the monitors, we started to get anxious. It was then that another announcement in French came over the PA and all the crowd around us went rushing off in one direction. We kind of followed them, unsure as to whether that was the right thing to do, until we eventually found someone who spoke English and who reassured us that, yes, this crowd was all heading for our train on Platform 7 and that it wouldn't leave until everyone was on board.

    We had booked to travel first class on a really good pricing deal and were in Coach number 1. Just to complicate matters we saw that there were two different route numbers and two trains travelling end-to-end. The back-end carriages would be going only as far as Bordeaux while the front half of the train would proceed to Toulouse, our destination. We assumed that the train would stop briefly at Bordeaux to allow this to happen in a safe and orderly manner, though one can never be sure of these things. It was vital therefore that we boarded the correct end of the train since there was no way that one could walk its entire length as there were a couple of locomotives in the middle. This double-train turned out to be really long, long enough to cover two time zones we reckoned, and it took us quite a while for us to reach the front coach.

    Once on board we were really impressed. The carriage was spacious with big comfortable seats and various facilities for business people to work while they travelled at 300kph or so. On time to the minute, we disembarked at Toulouse station where, fortunately, we had 45 minutes in which to work out how to print our pre-ordered tickets for the next sector and find the right platform. Naturally, that involved several more flights of steps but we got there in the end. Of course our original plan had us collecting an Avis rental at Toulouse, so from this point on we were on Plan B. It involved a commuter train which we caught for the hour-long journey to Carcassonne, comfortable enough but not a patch on the luxury of the TGV. A helpful chap we'd chatted to on the train Googled our hotel and told us that it was definitely a long way from the station and that we'd haveto grab a cab. We therefore wandered across to the taxi rank, which was deserted apart from another couple who were waiting there already. They told us we'd need to phone for a cab - the phone number was on a nearby sign - and the operator told us there would be a wait of at least 20 minutes. Fortunately, it wasn't raining, but we weren't too happy at having to wait in this dark isolated area, particularly after the other couple's cab had arrived and taken them to their hotel. After a good 30 minutes we decided to hell with this. Brian's GPS indicated that it was a 1.5km walk and off we set along a lot of deserted and uneven footpaths. We admit that by then we were feeling somewhat cranky, but managed to reach the Hotel Pont Vieux, an old building overlooking a historic bridge (hence the name) and a quiet street with several restaurants.

    We were greeted warmly by the patron and patronne, who made us feel very welcome. They asked if we minded being on the top (ie third) floor, which we didn't. Thank goodness, the patron carried our bags for us up the narrow winding staircase. They told us they'd put us in a newly renovated family suite, and when we saw it, we were impressed. The main bedroom was quite spacious, and there was a second room with two single beds, which gave us plenty of room to store our bags. The bathroom was big and brand-new. We were certainly very happy with our choice of hotel. After all those dozens of stairways and long walks with our luggage we were shattered, so after a quick meal at a nearby restaurant we hit the sack. At least we knew that after a day of great ups and downs we'd struck gold.
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  • Day31

    Food porn and exploring Carcassonne

    September 23, 2017 in France

    We'd arrived in the dark, so the next morning was our first chance to look around. The hotel is on a quiet street, and it is only a ten-minute walk up the hill to the Cité Médiévale. This UNESCO-protected site sits high above Carcassonne, and its walls dominate the skyline. Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation.

    Meanwhile down below, on the banks of the Aude River, there is the old town of Carcassonne with its narrow streets interesting architecture. By comparison it is almost new, merely dating back to the Middle Ages, and that's where our hotel is located. In the shadow of its smaller but more famous sibling, the ‘La Cité’ citadel. Known as the ‘Bastide Saint Louis’, it features typically French bars, shops, cafés and restaurants,

    We thought that we'd start out by doing the walk up to the Cité Médiévale. When we got there things were fairly quiet, and Brian was able to take plenty of photos while relatively unimpeded by massive tour groups and narcissistic individuals taking selfies while posing in front of the spectacularly beautiful views. Cité Médiévale is amazing in that no matter where you turn there's a new and photogenic perspective of the place. As the morning progressed, the crowds really started arriving in droves and the place filled up with tourists, Brian still managed some shots which shouldn't require too much PhotoShopping to eliminate all the tourists, though it was challenging at times.

    Like so many of the tourist hotspots we'd visited over the past couple of weeks Cité Médiévale is full of souvenir shops, food shops and restaurants by the dozens, all designed to part the hordes of passing tourists from their euros, dollars, pounds or whatever. In amongst all the cheap plastic garbage and the unashamedly kitsch items there are many quality souvenirs, but they tend to be very expensive at these places. In terms of the food shops there and elsewhere in France, it doesn't matter whether one is looking at boulangeries, lolly shops or patisseries (Brian's downfall) the food is always presented beautifully and it's of high quality. Buy something as simple as a ham and cheese baguette and it will come from a display where everything is laid out with geometric neatness and is irresistibly inviting. One can't help but want to buy it - and a few other items at the same time. When you receive it, it is usually packaged beautifully. The same goes for the patisseries, where you just stand there salivating while deciding which of the many different items on display you should buy. Unlike the cakes in Australia which generally look better than they taste, we found that the French cakes and pastries not only look good but taste fantastic as well. Then there are the sweet shops, which generally also sell small biscuits in a range of flavours. Everything is packaged and displayed beautifully and it is hard to resist the temptation to buy nearly everything in sight. Food porn, indeed.

    We then took a step forward in time, relatively speaking, and browsed the shops and narrow streets of the old town. Again, highly photogenic and very interesting. There are two beautiful squares, Place Carnot which is in the centre of town and filled with old shops, and Square Gambetta which is much more open and modern. Both are very appealing. Three mornings a week there's a produce market in Place Carnot, and we reached the square an hour or so before the stall-holders were packing up. While it was quite a bit smaller than its counterpart in Lyon, everything still looked beautiful and very tempting - more food porn. We noticed some posters stating that the following day, which was a Sunday, there was going to be an annual so-called Gourmet Market in the square and we decided that we must get to that.

    Speaking of food, as we have been, we were determined to try the feature dish of the area, cassouelet. The one we had for dinner contained duck, and fantastic it was too. We really like this place.
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