Carcassone Tourist information:
If heading South via Toulouse, Carcassonne makes for a truly different place to stop off. Depending on your viewpoint, La Cite, the restored fortified town, is either an over-restored tourist trap or an unmissable medieval masterpiece. Its ramparts and castle walls had been in ruins since the 17th century, and in 1849 it narrowly avoided demolition for building stone. The outcry which followed this eventually led to its thorough restoration by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, but many consider the results of his labours just too perfect. Nevertheless, a visit to the citadel and a stroll in the pretty, narrow streets should not be missed, and the double-walled, turreted fortress presents an astonishing view from a distance. At the Chateau Comtal, within the walls, you can take a tour of both the castle and the town walls. The Basilique St-Nazaire, a graceful gothic structure is also worth a visit. The city really comes to life in July and August with a massive firework display to celebrate Bastille Day (14th July), the Festival de Carcassonne in July (music theatre and dance), and the Fetes Medievales in August.
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