Things to do in Carcassonne

About Carcassonne

The must-see attractions in Carcassonne include the fortified city of La Cité, with its double walls and numerous watchtowers, and the Château Comtal. Don’t miss the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus for its stunning stained glass windows or the picturesque views of the Aude River from the old bridge, Pont Vieux.
Children will be thrilled by the Château et Remparts de la Cité de Carcassonne, which offers a vivid glimpse into medieval life. Le Parc Australien is perfect for encountering exotic animals, while the Lac de la Cavayère provides ample space for outdoor activities and swimming.
Popular outdoor activities include walking tours around the ramparts of La Cité, enjoying boat rides on the Canal du Midi, and relaxing by the Lac de la Cavayère. Hiking, cycling, and wine tasting in the nearby vineyards are also favorite pastimes.
For indoor adventures, explore the Museum of Fine Arts, the School Museum, or take an immersive audio tour of the Château Comtal. For a unique experience, visit the Maison des Mémoires—Joe Bousquet's former house or the Inquisition Tower.
The best Carcassonne tours include the self-guided audio tours of La Cité, offering fascinating historical insights, and the guided tours of the Château Comtal and its ramparts. Canal du Midi cruises are also highly recommended for a picturesque view of the region.
The most popular museums are the Museum of Fine Arts, featuring European art, and the School Museum, which takes visitors back in time. Other notable institutions include the Museum of the Inquisition and the Maison des Mémoires.
On rainy days, visitors can enjoy indoor Carcassonne tours, such as the audio-guided exploration of Château Comtal, or take in the rich collections of the Museum of Fine Arts and the School Museum for a dose of culture and history.
Short tours in Carcassonne that are ideal for visitors with limited time include a quick self-guided audio tour of La Cité's main landmarks or a brief guided tour focusing on specific sites such as the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus or the galleries within the Château Comtal.

Best Things to Do In Carcassonne

Explore Carcassonne's medieval charm with a self-guided audio tour, offering a treasure of historic and cultural sights.

Carcassonne: Pont Vieux

What is it?
A centuries-old stone bridge offering picturesque views of the fortified city and the Aude River.
Why you should go?
As an emblem of the city's historical layering, Pont Vieux serves as a scenic link to Carcassonne's storied past. Strolling across this medieval bridge affords panoramic views that many consider as the prime vantage point for photographing La Cité. The self-guided audio tour accentuates the experience, narrating tales of the bridge's importance over centuries, making it one of the best things to do in Carcassonne for those who cherish history and romance.

Carcassonne: House of Memories (Maison des Mémoires)

What is it?
A literary museum dedicated to the memory of Joe Bousquet, a surrealist poet and a fixture of Carcassonne history.
Why you should go?
Situated in the poet's former residence, the House of Memories invites literature enthusiasts to delve into the life and work of Joe Bousquet. It stands as a testament to the cultural richness of Carcassonne beyond its battlements. Offering a contemplative space to discover the intellectual movements that swept through France, the museum is a staple among the thought-provoking Carcassonne activities, embracing the confluence of history, art, and literature.

Carcassonne: The Aude Gate (Porte de l'Aude)

What is it?
A grand entrance to the Medieval City, serving as a gateway through its formidable walls and into the heart of La Cité.
Why you should go?
The Aude Gate stands as a guardian to tales of yesteryear, offering an atmospheric entry to explore La Cité's ancient fortifications. This strategic point offers visitors insight into the military genius of Carcassonne's design and defense mechanisms that have withstood the test of time. Embark on a journey through this historical portal, and discover the charm that sparked the imagination of travelers and artists alike, solidifying its place among the things to do in Carcassonne.

Carcassonne: Museum of Fine Arts

What is it?
An institution showcasing European paintings, ceramics, and art objects from the 17th century to the present day.
Why you should go?
The Museum of Fine Arts presents an elegant reprieve from the medieval narrative of Carcassonne, offering a peaceful encounter with the fine arts. Within its walls, the audio tour guides visitors through an impressive collection, emphasizing European masters and local artists. This attraction stands out for those seeking cultural enrichment and is undoubtedly one of the best Carcassonne tours for art aficionados.

Carcassonne: Saint Vincent's Church

What is it?
A stunning example of Gothic architecture, this church boasts a towering bell tower accessible to visitors.
Why you should go?
Offering a spiritual counterpoint to the military might of La Cité, Saint Vincent's Church provides visitors with a serene space to appreciate Gothic architectural prowess. Climbing the bell tower rewards with sweeping views, encompassing the bastides, vineyards, and the distant Pyrenees. This revered site encapsulates the essence of what to see in Carcassonne, blending religious, architectural, and scenic splendors into one harmonious experience.

Carcassonne: The Medieval City (La Cité)

What is it?
A historic fortress and UNESCO World Heritage site with a rich past dating back to the Gallo-Roman era.
Why you should go?
Delve into the heart of medieval Europe with a visit to La Cité, the fortified upper town of Carcassonne. This compelling destination captivates with its double-walled fortifications and fairy-tale turrets. As a self-guided audio tour unveils the legends and history surrounding this bastion, visitors encounter the allure of chivalry and intrigue that defines the best things to do in Carcassonne.

Carcassonne: Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus

What is it?
A medieval basilica famed for its striking Gothic architecture and beautifully adorned interiors.
Why you should go?
For those pondering what to do in Carcassonne, the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus stands as a gem of ecclesiastical splendor. The self-guided audio tours in Carcassonne lead through this holy space, revealing sublime stained-glass windows that illustrate biblical stories and the region's heritage. The whispers of the past echo through the nave, creating a serene atmosphere for introspection and admiration.

Carcassonne: Château Comtal

What is it?
The ancient Count's Castle, nestled within La Cité, with its imposing walls and defensive structures.
Why you should go?
The Château Comtal embodies the essence of things to see in Carcassonne, transporting visitors back to the time of sieges and sovereignty. The tour around the castle's ramparts and into its historical rooms is essential to comprehend Carcassonne's strategic military importance. Through narrated stories and vivid descriptions, one grasps the château's pivotal role in France's past, making it a not-to-be-missed stop on any Carcassonne excursion.

Carcassonne: The School Museum

What is it?
An evocative museum depicting French education from the 1880s to the 1960s.
Why you should go?
For a unique insight into France's cultural and educational evolution, The School Museum is one of the compelling places to visit in Carcassonne. As the audio guide narrates, visitors can view authentic classroom settings, historical scholastic materials, and even participate in writing with ink and quill. This intimate experience of France's bygone era interweaves with broader historical narratives, making for an educational and enjoyable adventure.

Carcassonne: The Canal du Midi

What is it?
A picturesque waterway, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, lined with plane trees and beautiful vistas.
Why you should go?
The gently flowing waters of the Canal du Midi present a serene option for those looking for fun things to do in Carcassonne. The self-guided audio tours along the canal's banks provide a perfect blend of natural beauty and engineering marvels. This tranquil thoroughfare invites leisurely strolls, picnics, and boat trips, offering a delightful respite from the hustle of the city and a pastoral slice of southern France's charming countryside.

TOP-5 tours in Carcassonne for first time visitors

  • Discover the iconic fortress city and immerse in history with 'things to see in Carcassonne,' a tour that guides through the ancient citadel's winding cobblestone streets.
  • 'What to see in Carcassonne' offers insightful commentary on the majestic castles, providing a deep dive into the region's feudal heritage and architectural wonders.
  • Engage with 'Carcassonne activities' tour, featuring a walk along the Canal du Midi, soothing to the soul and rich with scenic beauty and tranquil spots.
  • 'Fun things to do in Carcassonne' brings excitement for all ages with an interactive exploration of the city's festive life, including local markets and vibrant squares.
  • Embrace 'places to visit in Carcassonne' with a focus on the city's cultural tapestry, introducing to the lesser-known spots that are hidden gems of local lore.

Fun things to do in Carcassonne with kids

Embarking on a family adventure through the historical landscapes of Carcassonne offers a plethora of engaging activities tailored for young explorers. Begin with the 'Carcassonne Medieval Quest,' an interactive tour designed specifically for children. This educational jaunt through the city's storied alleys and ramparts brings history to life with tales of knights and legends, ensuring that the little ones are mesmerized at every turn. The 'Le Parc Australien' is a delightful detour from the Middle Ages into the wonders of the Down Under. Children encounter kangaroos, emus, and other creatures from the Australian outback, providing a unique zoological experience in the heart of France. Finally, consider visiting the 'Lac de la Cavayère,' which promises fun-filled hours with its sandy beaches, water activities, and dedicated play areas. Whether enjoying a picnic or partaking in paddle boating, the lake becomes a perfect family respite from the city buzz. These attractions encapsulate the essence of joy and excitement for families delving into the plethora of fun things to do in Carcassonne with kids.

Things to do in Carcassonne with family

Carcassonne is a playground of cultural and leisure activities perfect for families. Start by stepping back in time with a visit to the fairy-tale landscape of La Cité, where audio-guided tours bring the Middle Ages to life, enchanting visitors of all ages with stories of knights and epic battles amidst the fortified walls and towers. Next, head to the Lac de la Cavayère, also known as Carcassonne's beach. This tranquil lake offers a variety of recreational opportunities including swimming, pedal boats, and mini-golf, surrounded by picturesque walking trails. It's an ideal spot for a family picnic and some relaxation time in nature. For an educational and interactive experience, venture to the School Museum. Children will be fascinated to discover classroom life of the past while exploring authentic old desks and learning materials - a unique way to see the evolution of education in France. Incorporate these top attractions into your itinerary, and enjoy cherished moments with loved ones in Carcassonne.

Free things to do in Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a city where the rich tapestry of history is matched by the diversity of complimentary experiences available to its visitors. For starters, the grandiose medieval fortress of La Cité can be explored without expense. Walk along the imposing walls and through the historic gates, soaking in the stunning views and atmosphere of bygone eras at your own pace with a self-guided tour of the exterior. Stroll along the banks of the iconic Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tree-lined paths offer peaceful walks and picnic spots, while the ballet of boats passing by provides a captivating backdrop, ideal for a family outing or a quiet retreat. Finally, visit the bustling Place Carnot in the heart of the Bastide Saint-Louis. This lively square, with its vibrant market on Saturday mornings, invites visitors to enjoy the local life, seasonal produce, and the free entertainment provided by street musicians and performers. These are just a sampling of free things to do in Carcassonne that promise memorable experiences without the need for tickets or tours.

Cheap things to do in Carcassonne

Navigating Carcassonne on a budget is an enjoyable prospect, offering visitors a selection of budget-friendly activities. Embark on a walk to the Pont Vieux, a historical bridge that invites for a picturesque promenade with unparalleled views of La Cité, especially at sunset. Visit the Carcassonne markets where the sights and smells provide a feast for the senses. Engage with local vendors, sample the regional delicacies like cassoulet or cheese, and perhaps pick up some fresh produce for an affordable picnic in one of the city's verdant parks. Engage in a time-travel adventure by exploring the streets of the Bastide Saint-Louis. This lower town area of Carcassonne is replete with charming boutiques, cafes, and historical architecture. Many of its quaint corners and captivating facades can be discovered via self-guided walking tours, allowing for a leisurely and cost-effective way to experience the culture and lifestyle of the region. These attractions present an array of cheap things to do in Carcassonne, ensuring visitors can enjoy the city's wealth of experiences without denting their wallets.

Things to do in Carcassonne for couples

Carcassonne serves as a romantic backdrop for couples looking to indulge in shared experiences that blend history, beauty, and charm. A walk through the cobbled streets of La Cité at dusk, as the medieval walls begin to glow with golden light, creates an enchanting setting for hand-in-hand exploration. The self-guided audio tours here not only reveal the secrets of the past but also allow couples to connect with the tales that have shaped this fortress. For those seeking greenery and intimacy, the tranquil meanders along the Canal du Midi provide a serene escape. Couples can enjoy a leisurely bike ride, pausing at quiet locks and under the shade of plane trees for a picturesque picnic along the waterway. Wine-loving duos will delight in visiting the surrounding vineyards. A short drive brings couples to local wineries offering tastings of the region’s renowned vintages. This is a chance to savor the flavors of the Languedoc region amidst the sun-drenched vineyards, capturing the essence of Carcassonne for couples.

Things to do in Carcassonne at night

As the sun sets, Carcassonne unveils a nocturnal charm that is both enchanting and evocative. Begin with a twilight stroll atop the medieval ramparts of La Cité, where the illuminated walls transport you into a storybook world, offering a serene and romantic ambiance for evening walks. Next, venture into the heart of the Bastide Saint-Louis to savor the culinary delights of its local bistros and restaurants. The regional cuisine, from hearty cassoulet to fine wines, can be enjoyed al fresco under the stars or within the cozy settings of historic dining establishments. For those seeking entertainment, attending a performance at the Théâtre Jean-Alary is a must. Located in the lower town, this elegant venue hosts a rich program of concerts, plays, and dances, providing a cultural night out that echoes Carcassonne's artistic heritage. These attractions, along with the gentle buzz of the city’s night markets, make Carcassonne an unforgettable destination for nocturnal adventures.