Fran­cofile

France - - City Break -

GET­TING THERE:

By air: Ryanair flies from sev­eral UK des­ti­na­tions to Car­cas­sonne from £12.99 one-way. The air­port is a 10min drive from the city, and shut­tle buses (€5) run 30 min­utes after every sched­uled flight (ryanair.com).

By rail: Trains from Paris via Nar­bonne or var­i­ous other sta­tions take from 5hr 20min.

GET­TING AROUND

Walk­ing is the eas­i­est and most en­joy­able way to dis­cover com­pact Car­cas­sonne and it is largely pedes­tri­anised, too. Bi­cy­cle rentals and tours are avail­able, and make a great way to ex­plore the See the two sides of Car­cas­sonne on a week­end break Canal du Midi. Var­i­ous pri­vate guided tours of cas­tles, vil­lages and vineyards are avail­able from Vins et Merveilles (car­cas­son­ne­tourism.com). WHERE TO STAY

Lara stayed at: Hôtel Aragon

5 Mon­tée Combel­eran 11000 Car­cas­sonne Tel: (Fr) 4 68 47 16 31 hote­laragon.fr/en This mod­ern ho­tel is con­ve­niently lo­cated a five-minute walk from the gates of the Cité. While away any spare time at the small out­door pool. Dou­bles from €88. two-for-one ac­com­mo­da­tion from 1 Novem­ber to 5 March. Ask for the Bon Week-end à Car­cas­sonne brochure at the tourist of­fice.

WHERE TO EAT Lara ate at: Le Jardin de la Tour

11 Rue Porte d’aude 11000 Car­cas­sonne Tel: (Fr) 4 68 25 71 24 my­car­cas­sonne.com/ le-jardin-de-la-tour Within the walls of the Cité, this un­pre­ten­tious restau­rant serves ex­cel­lent, lo­cally in­spired cui­sine. The gar­den is the real sell­ing point, with mag­nif­i­cent views up to the cas­tle. Mains from €17, menu from €32.

Restau­rant Robert Ro­driguez

39 Rue Coste Re­boulh 11000 Car­cas­sonne Tel: (Fr) 4 68 47 37 80 web.lere­lais­in­ter­net. com/117846419 This Miche­lin-listed restau­rant has a quirky vin­tage feel but the food is in­cred­i­ble. Chef Robert Ro­driguez fo­cuses on high-qual­ity lo­cal pro­duce and flavours. Mains from €20.

Le Puits du Tré­sor

21 Rue des 4 Châteaux 11600 Las­tours Tel: (Fr) 4 68 77 50 24 lep­uits­dutre­sor.com The food at this oneMiche­lin-star restau­rant 18km from Car­cas­sonne is ex­quis­ite, al­though the at­mos­phere is slightly lack­ing. The cre­ativ­ity of (requested) veg­e­tar­ian dishes is par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive. Menus from €47 (€67 with paired wines).

Domaine d’au­riac Restau­rant Bernard Ri­gaudis

2535 Route de Saint Hi­laire 11009 Car­cas­sonne Tel: (Fr) 4 68 25 72 22 domaine-d-au­riac.com Lo­cated within a gor­geous Re­lais & Châteaux ho­tel, this one-miche­lin-star restau­rant is ex­tra­or­di­nary. Sit on the cov­ered ve­randa on a fine day and en­joy the su­perbly crafted dishes and ac­com­pa­ny­ing wines (largely lo­cal). Four-course Menu du Domaine from €79.

WHERE TO VISIT

Château et Rem­parts de la Cité de Car­cas­sonne 1 Rue Vi­ol­let-le-duc La Cité 11000 Car­cas­sonne Tel: (Fr) 4 68 11 70 72 rem­parts-car­cas­sonne.fr Wan­der around the ram­parts and see a va­ri­ety of dis­plays and ex­hi­bi­tions within the cas­tle walls.

Musée des Beaux-arts

1 Rue de Ver­dun 11000 Car­cas­sonne Tel: (Fr) 4 68 77 73 70 A di­verse col­lec­tion of Euro­pean art from the 17th Cen­tury to present day.

Les Halles Mar­ket

Place Eggen­felden 11000 Car­cas­sonne Cov­ered mar­ket sell­ing lo­cal pro­duce in­clud­ing wines, cheeses and shell­fish. Open Tues-sat morn­ings.

STAY­ING ON

The area is crammed with things to do and see, such as the four Cathar cas­tles of nearby Las­tours and the small town of Caunes-min­er­vois, which is famed for its red marble. There is also a wealth of vineyards and glo­ri­ous scenery in­clud­ing the Canal du Midi.

ABOVE: The for­ti­fied Cité of Car­cas­sonne; BE­LOW: The four Cathar cas­tles of Las­tours, north of Car­cas­sonne

Many ho­tels and B&BS in Car­cas­sonne of­fer

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