Poised atop a hill overlooking lush green countryside and the Aude River, Carcassonne’s fortified upper town, known as La Cité, looks lifted from the pages of a storybook—literally, perhaps, as its circle of towers and battlements is said to be the setting for Charles Perrault's classic tale Puss in Boots. With its turrets and castellated walls, it appeals to children and those with a penchant for the Middle Ages. The lower, newer part of the city is the ville basse, where you’ll find the train station, the bus terminal, and a smattering of sights (most notably the Musée des Beaux-Arts).
Note that unless you’re staying at a hotel in La Cité, you are not allowed to enter it with your vehicle; you must pay to park in the lot across the road from the drawbridge. Alternately, from the train station you can take a cab, hop a navette shuttle bus, or make the 30-minute walk up to La Cité.
Carcassonne at a Glance
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