My husband and I recently spent a child free weekend in the medieval city of Carcassonne, France, and had a wonderful time. There are lots of things to do in Carcassonne, either with or without the kids, here are just a few to get you started as you plan your itinerary.
The Castle or Chateau Comtal
One of the most popular things to do in Carcassonne is to visit Chateau Comtal.
Chateau Comtal is the medieval castle situated in the old town in Carcassonne and it is steeped in history. It is an absolute must see even if you just choose to view it from the outside for free.
What is so special about Chateau Comtal is that it is a castle set with the still intact city walls, that you can enter for free, and within these walls, unlike other castle grounds, you will actually find a small village full of shops and restaurants that you can explore at your leisure .
In the middle of the grounds you will find an additional gate and for a reasonable price you can go inside the castle itself. Once inside you can walk the walls and go in and out of various rooms reading fascinating information about the history of Carcassonne. You can also hire an audio tour if you want to learn more. The views from the top walls are beautiful and definitely worth the entry price for them alone.
I would note that this walk is not pram friendly and may be difficult for small children or those with mobility issues due the number of stairs and small walkways you need to navigate.
Catch a show
Depending on the time of year there are often free shows on across the city of Carcassonne, some for families some for adults. It is always worth checking with the tourist board once you have your dates as you will need to book tickets in advance as they are very popular. At Christmas they have free pantomimes and in summer they have a festival where 80 of the 20 shows are completely free!
A night Tour
If you are looking for things to do in Carcassonne at night then check out the Remparts et Lumieres which is a night time light show and tour that runs between July and September. It is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in the history of Carcassonne in a unique manor and it is suitable for families of all ages. The tour lasts 45 minutes and it is advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
On the opposite side from the castle is the main town centre where you will find a number of shops, some internationally recognisable others more french boutiques, as well as lots of wineries, restaurants delicatessens. Whether you are wanting to treat yourself to some new clothes or buy gifts for those back home you will be able to find everything you are looking for in this part of the town.
There are a number of markets that you can browse for free and they have a wonderful selection of fruits, veg, meats, cheese, cakes and even clothes, amongst other things. If you are staying self catering in Carcassonne then I highly recommend vising the markets to see what local supplies you can get o make meal times .
Flower, fruit and vegetable markets: Fresh produce, fruit and vegetables every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning.
Indoor market: In the old market hall in the centre of the Bastide Saint Louis: fresh produce from the region, meat, charcuterie, fish, fruit and vegetables, poultry. Daily except Sundays.
Clothes market: Every Saturday morning – Square Gambetta and Bd Jean Jaurès.
Local producers market: Every Sunday morning – Place de la Barbacane.
If you are a keen walker then Carcassonne has a number of walks for all abilities, some more strenuous then others, but all with beautiful scenery along the way. You can opt for a self guided walk following the numerous sign posted trails or book a guided hike or walk with a professional.
The River Flus
The River Flus offers lots of fun activities for all the family. You can walk along the river bed and take in the sights or enjoy a boat ride or water sports at various points throughout the city. From canoeing to SUP’s there is something for everyone.
A trip to France would not be a trip to France without some wine tasting and in Carcassonne their are ample of opportunities to do this. You can head out to one of the many vineyards and have a full wine tasting and tour experience or stay in the town centre and enjoy a wine tasting in one of the bars or specialist shops, the choice is yours.
If you are visiting Carcassonne in December then be sure t check out the Carcassonne Christmas markets and events. Carcassonne really comes alive for the festive period with ice skating, shows, displays and a fun fair to name just a few.
I hope this list helps to get you started with your Carcassonne holiday plans and that you have the bets time.