It is in Carsac, south of the city that the history of Carcassonne really begins, 1000 years before Christ. In the 6th century BC, this place of habitation was abandoned for an oppidum located at the current location of the City. The city has long periods of occupation by the Visigoths and Saracens. In the thirteenth century, against the Cathar heresy, Pope Innocent III triggers the Crusade against the Albigensians. Count Simon de Montfort at the head of the Crusader army besieges the city which is taken in 1209.
Given in 1226 to Saint Louis, King of France, he transformed it into a royal fortress, head of a defensive device of the Franco-Spanish border. In 1590, during the Wars of Religion, the City does not recognize Henry IV as King of France because he is Huguenot. A violent conflict divides the city for several months. After the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), the city lost its role of border post and its preeminence. The production of woolen sheets, attested from the 14th century, became the main activity. Around 1780, the collapsing of the market led to the decline of this industry in the city.
It is only under the Third Republic that the city regains its economic dynamism through viticulture and related industries. In the 19th century, the City, used as a stone quarry, was saved and restored.
Today, Carcassonne, whose city and the Canal du Midi are listed as World Heritage Sites, enjoys international renown. It welcomes several million visitors each year.
Located on the right bank of the Aude, the city, medieval village still inhabited, has 52 towers and two concentric walls that total 3 km of ramparts. Free access day and night, by the Narbonne Gate and the Aude gate, a large part of the Medieval City can be visited freely.
MONUMENTS AND MUSEUMS ARE NUMEROUS IN CARCASSONNE, HERE ARE SOME OF THE VISITS ORGANIZED BY THE TOURISM OFFICE:
- "The Classical visit": duration 1h15
From the ramparts to the basilica and the castle (exterior only), the professional guide takes you to the heart of the Occitan city.
- "Catharism": duration 1h30
Let yourself be told the events that have upset the history of the South: who were the ones we call today "Cathars"? Why did the Pope and the King of France unleash the terrible Albigensian crusade?
- "Military architecture": duration 1h30
Discover the mysteries of constructions and the traces of the various campaigns of fortifications of the City with the double ramparts where the genius of the military art was able to express itself.
- "The complete visit": duration 2h
The great tour of the city: Roman doors to the feudal and royal castle, let yourself be guided through 2600 years of turbulent history.
- "Family visit with costumed guide": duration 1h
Legends will be narrated, mysteries will be revealed by a character in costume from the past! Life in the Middle Ages, the walls and alleys of the City will hold no more secrets for you.
- "Night tour": duration 1h
Enjoy the freshness of a summer’s night, to (re) discover the city of Carcassonne., between illuminated ramparts and romantic alleys, in search of lost time.
- "The fabulous destiny of the bastide Saint-Louis dramatized visits": duration 1h45 - In season only.
Discover in a fun way the general history as well as the main monuments of the city center with comedians and a professional guide.