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The city of Carcassonne is located in the Langeudoc-Roussillon region, in the south of France.
Considered one of the most impressive Romanesque fortress cities in Europe, Carcassonne is rich in history and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This preserved medieval city and its beautiful surroundings are dotted with landmarks and historical ruins.
Carcassonne is a fortified French city situated by the River Aude. It's divided into two main parts: the medieval citadel at Carcassonne (La Cité), and the Lower Town (La Ville Basse).
Carcassonne served as the inspiration for the Walt Disney film, Sleeping Beauty. With a collection of drawbridges, towers, a castle and cobblestoned lanes Carcassonne’s fairytale setting is a must-see on any road trip around southern France.
It's best to start with the classic tour of Carcassonne in the medieval citadel. The highlight is the old fortress. With over 50 towers linked together by two-mile long concentric walls it's a must-see. La Cité is located on top of a hill and has superb views of the modern part of the city, the Aude River, Canal du Midi and the Pyrénées.
La Ville Basse (Lower Town) is Carcassonne's town centre. A weekly food market on the Place Carnot provides a glimpse of the colourful local life. The area also features typical French bars, cafes and restaurants. Make sure you order cassoulet, a regional dish of meat stew and beans. The Lower Town is also home to a handful of charming boutiques that are good for sourcing presents to take back home.
There's so much to discover in Carcassonne. Hire an Avis car to see the city in style and comfort.
A drive around Carcassonne and the surrounding region provides a scenic road trip. The magnificent rolling landscapes take you through endless vineyards, valleys and villages.
Head towards the villages of Caunes-Minervois and Lastours, both located around ten miles north of Carcassonne. Up here, in the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) you'll come across valleys full of cherry and chestnut trees and four mythical-looking castles that were constructed by the Cathars, a medieval Christian sect. Walk up the hill to examine the ancient stones or cruise down the road to reach the Belvédère viewing point.
An hour and 40-minute drive along the D118 AND D612 leads to Albi. This town is known for two world-class sights: St. Cecile cathedral and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. At first sight, the cathedral makes an imposing impression, resembling a fortress rather than a place of sanctuary. It once served as the central feature of the town's defensive walls during Cathar rule. Next door is the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, which contains the world's largest collection of works by the famous artist. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was born and raised in Albi. He moved to Paris where he made a name for himself by painting the city's underclass.
The south of France is yours to discover. All you have to do is drive.
France driving guide
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Driving around Carcassonne
If you're travelling around Carcassonne in your rental car make sure you stay within the speed limit and enjoy the beautiful sights of south-west France's fortified city.
Find your way
To make your journey even easier, we can include a sat nav with your car so you can relax and enjoy your rental car from Carcassonne.
Your car hire in Carcassonne awaits. The open roads are yours to explore. All you have to do is pick up the keys.