Carcassonne Travel Blog› entry 8 of 21 › view all entries
The first view of the upper town of Carcassonne is the best. You'll get surprised by the look, does this still exist? YES IT DOES!!! Perched high above the river Aude, the Cité is a must see for every visitor nearby. Don't be fooled though, this UNESCO world heritage site is only a 19th-century restoration by Viollet-le-Duc. He recreated a magnificent citadel with stout ramparts and pennant-capped towers. The medieval looks makes it unique.
Thanks to Kate Mosse and her brilliant book "Labyrinth" - setting in 2005 as well as in the memorial Crusade year 1209; read it before you visit the town! - my interest in Carcassonne came back. As I had a reservation at the Hotel Donjon (very nice hotel in a medieval looking building).
Carcassonne has two separate parts, la Cité and la Ville Basse (which is the older one) separated by the river Aude. Like most visitors I only visited la Cité, although the ville basse is certainly also worth some time. Biggest sight in the citadel is the Château Comtal, the inner bastion. Second feature is the Basilique Saint-Nazaire, with next to the church an out-of-time amphitheatre. I think the best thing to do is just wandering the narrow, crooked streets, and absorbing the convincingly medieval ambience. You should also take a walk around the lices, a narrow spaces between the inner and outer walls. Try to spend the night here, so that you can enjoy the city after the many, many busloads of day tourists have gone.