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Classified as a UNESCO heritage site, the medieval city of Carcassonne is as impressive from afar as it is during its visit. Its exemplary conservation is a real feat.

If you want to visit it, find out all the important information you need to know.

Cité de Carcassonne: a unique medieval city in France

The medieval city of Carcassonne is a fascinating place capable of transporting visitors into another era.

The citadel is surrounded by huge ramparts dating from the 13th century. Towers and battlements testify to the military life of the time.

view carcassonne
From a distance, you can see the dimensions of the fortifications even better.

Inside the city, you will see winding cobblestone streets, stone houses, churches, chapels and castles, all of which have been restored to recreate the medieval atmosphere and way of life.

The City of Carcassonne is rich in history and culture and offers many activities for visitors, such as guided tours, chivalry shows, tournaments, medieval markets and much more.

It is a fantastic place for all history buffs and lovers of France.

western wall carcassonne
Walk as close to the ramparts as possible.

If other cities like Saint-Malo are known for their fortifications, the quality of conservation and the size of the ramparts of Carcassonne are exceptional.

Highlights of a visit to the City of Carcassonne

  • The ramparts of the city are one of the main attractions of Carcassonne. The 52 towers, battlements and loopholes have been restored to recreate the atmosphere and details of medieval military fortifications.
  • The Château Comtal is located in the heart of the city and is accessible to visitors every day. It was built in the 12th century and offers a spectacular view of the surroundings.
  • The Basilica of Saint-Nazaire was built in the 13th century and is an example of Southern Gothic architecture. The stained glass windows, sculptures and frescoes are a delight for tourists.
  • The Torture Museum is an interactive museum that immerses visitors in the dark history of medieval Europe, with exhibits of instruments of torture used at the time.
  • Throughout the year, the city is animated by medieval events and festivals, ranging from historical re-enactments to craft markets and music and dance performances.

Disadvantages during a visit to the Cité de Carcassonne

  • The city is a very popular attraction.  During the summer, the high number of visitors reduces the pleasure.
  • Without planning, it can be frustrating to find out on the spot that there are no special activities planned for the day of your visit.


What can you see during a visit to the ramparts of Carcassonne?

A visit to the ramparts of Carcassonne is an incredible experience not to be missed during your visit to the medieval city.

The ramparts consist of 52 towers, each with a spectacular view of the surroundings.

outdoor theater carcassonne
Among all the amenities, you will find this open-air theater. | Source: EBASCOL/

Here are some of the things you can see when you visit the ramparts:

  • Visually, the defensive towers are one of the most important elements of the city. They were strategic places.
  • Access to the city is through two fortified gates that were designed to protect the city from enemy intrusion.
  • One of the most enjoyable experiences of visiting the ramparts of Carcassonne is a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside.
  • The underground passages under the ramparts are also an interesting attraction to discover. They were useful places during the sieges to reinforce the defense and to circulate the troops.
  • Reproductions of cannons and siege machines that were used in battles to defend the city.
  • The various chapels and churches are located along the ramparts, which have remarkable frescoes and wall paintings.

This list is far from being exhaustive. The visit of the medieval city of Carcassonne is full of surprises!

street cite carcassonne
Stroll through the streets of the City and enjoy a unique setting. | Source: EBASCOL/


What is the entrance fee to the Cité de Carcassonne?

If the ramparts can be admired from a distance, the entrance to the medieval city of Carcassonne is :

  • 9.50€ for people over 26 years old
  • Free for children under 26 years old.

Guided tours or tours with an audioguide are possible at an additional cost.

Check out the current price on GetyourGuide.

How long does the visit of the City of Carcassonne last?

A visit to the Château Comtal and the Torture Museum takes about 2 hours.

night view carcassonne
When night falls, the illuminated ramparts offer a magnificent view.

This time is less than that of the ramparts, the towers, the Basilica and the various activities (restaurants, stores, workshops…).

For this reason, it is recommended to spend at least half a day in the City of Carcassonne and ideally, the whole day.


Where is the Cité de Carcassonne located?

The Cité de Carcassonne is located at 1 rue Viollet le Duc – 11000 Carcassonne.


How to get to the Cité de Carcassonne?

Carcassonne is an easy-to-reach city.

ramparts carcassonne
Several solutions are possible to come to the medieval city of Carcassonne.

The A61 freeway passes by the city. If you come by car, there are 3 parking lots near the ramparts.

The train is another option. From the Carcassonne train station, a 30-minute walk takes you to the medieval city.


What are the opening hours of the Cité de Carcassonne?

The castle and the ramparts are open every day;

  • From April to September: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • From October to March: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Exceptional closures take place on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.


What other activities can be done near the ramparts of Carcassonne?

There are many interesting activities near the medieval city of Carcassonne. Here are some of them:

  • Located about 20 km from the city, the Château de Saissac is another interesting medieval fortress to visit.
  • The Carcassonne region is also famous for its vineyards, with grape varieties such as Cabardès and Minervois. Visit the wineries and do some wine tasting.
  • The Canal du Midi is a waterway that links the Garonne to the Mediterranean. Enjoy a cruise on the Canal.
  • The Carcassonne region is also known for its many Cathar castles which bear witness to the turbulent history of the region during the Middle Ages. Visitors can discover castles such as Peyrepertuse, Quéribus or Puilaurens.


As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!