Carcassonne

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 and a smattering of sights (most notably the Musée des Beaux-Arts).

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