Carcassonne Castle (Cité de Carcassonne)
Explore the citadel on a guided or self-guided walking tour, which typically cover highlights such as the Saint-Nazaire Basilica, the 20th-century Theatre de la Cité, the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, and the 13th-century Narbonnaise Gate. You can also go inside Château Comtal; admission tickets include access to the ramparts, which afford panoramic city views.
Tours of the Cité of Carcassonne run from nearby Toulouse; half-day options focus solely on the citadel, while full-day tours typically visit other regional attractions, such as the Chateaux de Lastours or the Canal du Midi, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Things to Know Before You Go
Admission to the citadel is free, though there’s an admission fee for the castle, ramparts, and Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments. Make the most of reduced-price admission tickets to the Castle and Ramparts during the final hour of the day.
Audio guides are available at the castle in multiple languages including English.
There are several restrooms, shops, and restaurants in the Citadel, as well as a tourist information office, an ATM, and paid parking outside the city gates.
The Citadel is wheelchair accessible, but be aware that there are steps and steep cobblestone lanes that make some areas difficult to access.
How to Get There
The Citadel is located southeast of Carcassonne town, from which it’s a 20-minute walk uphill. Alternatively, buses, taxis, and a Little Train (summer season only) run up to the entrance gates regularly. The closest international airport is in Toulouse—regular buses and trains run from the city to Carcassonne.
When to Get There
The Citadel is open throughout the day and night, however attractions such as the Castle are only open during working hours. The citadel can get incredibly busy, especially in July and August, so aim for an early-morning visit to get there before the tour buses arrive. Visit on Bastille Day (July 14th) to witness a fireworks display over the citadel.
Crowning the hilltop citadel, Château Comtal is built in a classic medieval style, complete with a fairy-tale towers and ramparts that run for 1.9 miles (three kilometers) around the citadel, and encompass four city gates and 52 towers. The castle is now a museum, filled with medieval art and artefacts on the Cité and the Counts of Carcassonne.