I was having a conference in Toulouse for two days, so I decided to give it a go and do some tourist stuff for the weekend, and combine working with travel, so we decided to go in a day trip to Carcassonne. By chance, just several days before knowing I was going in Toulouse, I had added the site of Carcassonne on my bucket list.
Going for a day trip to Carcassonne
Not without any adventures, we made it to Carcassonne City. We had planned to carpool from Toulouse to Carcassonne, as it is only 1h drive and to split a car bill is still less expensive than taking the train. Besides, I prefer taking the train for long distances.
Our driver was more than the academic quarter late, so we left later than anticipated. Then, when arriving in Carcassonne, our driver decided to leave us on the highway exit, in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, another passenger got off in Carcassonne, and had someone pick her up, thus she proposed us the ride to the fortress. We thank her for saving us 3 km of walking to the Cité and said goodbye.
Be sure to check from where you leave and agree with your driver where you get off when carpooling.
More information on carpooling is available on BlaBlaCar.
A medieval fortified town overflowing with history
With about 2500 years of history, this massive Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne is classified as UNESCO Heritage since 1997. The big defensive walls designed to protect against invaders have witnessed many centuries of invasions and crusades.
The name of this town comes from Dame Carcas, the castle keeper, who ended a siege with a trick: while the attack had lasted for a very long period, the two armies were famished; inside the fortress’ walls, only a pig and some cereal remained; in an attempt to demoralize the enemies, Madam Carcas decided to nourish the pig with the cereals and make it fat, then launch the pork over the walls; the other army thought the castles had many reserves of food, so they decided to retreat. Madam Carcas announced the victory by ringing joyous bells (“Carcas sona”).
I will recommend every time the guided tours, as you will have so much to learn, and the little details of history will get stuck with you.
More information on Carcassonne site is available here.
Local food and goods
In this region, the most popular food is cassoulet, a dish based on white beans, accompanied by duck, pork or/and sausages. The area is also specialized in wines, thus many good Vins de Pays are produced in the region too.
If you come in Toulouse for work, the city of Carcassonne is worth of your attention. This area is filled with history and architecture. Do you have extra information for planning a day trip to Carcassonne from Toulouse or from elsewhere? Share it in the comments.