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Base in Carcassonne? Or what would you do instead?

Base in Carcassonne? Or what would you do instead?

Jan 22nd, 2014, 05:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 180
Base in Carcassonne? Or what would you do instead?

Here is what I'm thinking:
4 nights, 3 1/2 days based at a B&B that has excellent reviews on trip advisor.
It is not in the cite but within a 5 min or so walk, and has a nice view from the B&B.
I have read a lot of the threads on this forum regarding NOT staying in Carcassonne, but this is not technically in the cite.

One day we would visit Abbey de Fontfroide & Narbonne along with a drive along the coast possibly as far as Collioure.
One day relax at the B&B and a cruise on the Canal Midi.
One day Carcassone in the morning-drive to ? to explore more Cather castles.
This is in late May, after 1 week in the Dordogne (2nd time) & 5 days in Provence (6th time).
This will be the first time in Languedoc region.
What do you think?
Is this really a bad idea?
FabulousFrance is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,552
Some people dislike Carcassonne but I am not one of them. If you want my opinions about Carcassonne and Viollet-le-Duc you can have a look at this thread:


To visit the cité itself you really only need a half a day and I've done that a couple of times but I've never stayed overnight. However, I bet staying in the cité overnight would be very similar to my positive experience of staying on Mont-Saint-Michel overnight in that you'd have the place to yourself at night after the tourists were gone and personally I would enjoy that. Not having done it I can't give you a yes or no recommendation but I wouldn't let what others say deter from staying inside the cité itself if you think you might enjoy that. Some who have done it might give you their opinions, either positive or negative, but I've heard positive and negative opinions about staying on Mont Saint-Michel overnight so ultimately you are the one who needs to decide and don't base your decision on someone else's positive or negative experience.

There are many posters who can give further advice on what to see near there but if not I'll come back tomorrow and share some of my experiences in exploring that area.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
As long as you have a car, I see no reason not to stay in Carcassonne. On day 3, after visiting the Cité in the morning, you could drive to Lapradelle Puilaurens, Queribus and Peyrepertuse and visit the Cathar castles. You could also drive to Lastours to see the 4 castle ruins. There is a lot to see in the area : Couiza, Limoux, the Minervois, Rennes-le-Château, Lagrasse and Daint-Hilaire Abbeys, etc ....
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2014, 04:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,585
We stayed in a hotel just outside (walking distance) from the walls and I agree with what was said above about being there in the evening. We were there in March so it wasn't crowded even during the daytime, but at night it was almost deserted and it was magical. I would think in high season it would be a big plus to be there after all the tour buses leave.
isabel is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2014, 08:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 180
thanks for the replies...I actually read FMT & Isabel's trip reports which helped me in deciding to stay in this area and I took notes from Pvoyageuse's comments in the various threads. FMT thanks for the history lesson on the restoration, very interesting.

Everyone refers to how busy it is during the tourist high season, but I could not figure out when that was? Is May considered high season? Isabel I think it was on your report that you said there was over 2,000 parking spaces.
I am assuming that being able to park outside the cite we would not have a problem driving back to our B&B or are there traffic jams?
I think for me that would be the only reason I would stay elsewhere if we had to be in traffic on the way back to the B&B.
Is the road to Peyrepertuse really that windy that we would need Dramamine (which I read in someone's report)?
FabulousFrance is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2014, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
High season is July and August. Late May will be intermediate. You will encounter a good lot of tourists in Carcassonne, but not unbearable crowds.

Wether you need Dramamine is a matter of your personal sensitivity. Compared to mountain roads, the road to Peyrepertuse is quite harmless and not considerably long. However, if you are sensitive, you may a tablet (but then you need the tablet probably on every other small road in Southern France).

The Jardin de la Cité is 800m (0.5 miles) from the center of the old town - so it is easy walking distance. They have private parking. You will not have any hassle with parking or traffic jams.

At first, I thought "Why staying in Carcassonne?" But the Jardin de la Cité looks very nice indeed and has reasonable rates. It has a quiet location but is very close to the Old Town and offers views. I hope the pool will be open by late May, but expect that the water will be chilly.

traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2014, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
The last week-end of May will probably be crowded because it is the long Ascension Day week-end.
The road to Peyrepertuse is only windy when the wind blows ......... which is not everyday! When there is a strong wind, both Queribus and Peyrepertuse are closed for visits.
The only tricky part is the Gorges de Galamus, but coming from Carcassonne you won't even get close to the canyon.
Pvoyageuse is offline  

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