Carcassonne Castle

Carcassonne Castle | A Medieval Fortress in France

Nestled in the picturesque landscape of southern France, Carcassonne Castle stands as a testament to medieval grandeur and resilience. This iconic fortress, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, captivates visitors with its imposing walls, majestic towers, and labyrinthine courtyards.

Steeped in centuries of history, Carcassonne Castle offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, where tales of knights, kings, and sieges come to life amidst its ancient stones. From the panoramic views atop its ramparts to the intricate details within its walls, exploring Carcassonne Castle is a journey back in time, an experience that leaves an indelible mark on all who visit.

Carcassonne Castle Highlights

Sculpture of Lady Carcas

One of the most stunning highlights of Carcassonne Castle is the Sculpture of Lady Carcas, a legendary Saracen princess. It is said that Lady Carcas, upon the death of her husband, saved the city from being overtaken by Emperor Charlemagne’s superior forces. It was in her honour that the castle was named Carcassonne. The sculpture is a massive stone edifice that lies right at the entrance of the castle like a protector. It depicts the lady in ancient robes and is among the best-maintained sculptures in the castle.  

Northern Gallo Roman Rampart

The Gallo Roman Rampart on the northern end of the castle dates back centuries and is among the oldest parts of the structure. It was constructed during the Lower Empire and has 30 round ancient towers with no roofs. You can witness over a millennium of military architecture as you walk on the ramparts that are around a kilometre long. The rampart was built from horseshoe-shaped bricks and large stones and was later modernised with two towers made of bossage stones.

The Western Medieval Rampart

The second rampart of Carcassonne Castle France lies on the western side and offers stunning panoramic views of the entire town. The rampart was constructed in the thirteenth century by Saint Louis and his successors and had round and low towers that lacked roofs. When the site was restored, the towers were tiled with slate that created a contrast with flat roofs with southern French tiles. You can also climb the Bishop’s Tower, a massive structure that covers both walls, from here.

Chateau Comtal

Chateau’s Comtal or the Count’s Castle is among the most beautiful segments of Carcassonne the Castle. The chateau lies within the fortress and dates to the twelfth century when it was built by the Viscounts of Carcassonne. The structure is separated from the town by a dry ditch and has been modified many times over the centuries. The chateau offers stunning views of the surroundings and also showcases Carcassonne’s history through an artefact exhibition at the museum and informative film.

Basilique Saint-Nazaire

Much like every medieval fortress, Castle Carcassonne was home to a beautiful basilica where the inhabitants of the place offered prayers. The Basilique Saint Nazaire is one of the most impressive structures within the castle and is known for its charming architecture. It was constructed as a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles that were prevalent in medieval Europe. You can admire its delicate stained-glass windows, beautiful nave, prayer pulpit, and stunning sculptures dedicated to Catholicism during your castle tour.


Towers are obviously the architectural feature that are present in maximum number at the Carcassonne Castle. These towers served military purposes as they provided panoramic views of the entire town and allowed soldiers to mount attacks on enemies. Several towers line the ramparts of the fortress and showcase different architectural styles as they were constructed in different historical periods. You can also climb some of the towers, like the Bishop’s Tower, during your tour and admire the 360-degree views from their top.

Museum of the Middle Ages

Among the most popular sections of Carcassonne Castle France is the Museum of the Middle Ages which is located in Chateau Comtal. The museum is an interactive space that holds ten-minute film shows that inform visitors about the history of Carcassonne. After the movie, you enter the exhibition space where numerous artefacts from different historical periods are displayed. The collections depict the daily life and art and architecture of Middle Ages and can be explored with an audio guide tour.

History of Carcassonne Castle

The history of Carcassonne the Castle can be traced to 122 BCE, when the first stones of the structure were laid by the Romans. Roman occupation of the structure continued till the fifth century, when they were replaced by the Visigoths. The castle was home to many rulers, including the Saracens and Franks. It was during the siege by Charlemagne that Lady Carcas defended the cite and became the legend of the region.

A major turning point came in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, when the Chateau Comtal was constructed by the Viscounts of Carcassonne. The structure transformed into a major defensive castle during the Crusades, when numerous rulers gained control of Castle Carcassonne.

History again changed course, when the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees stripped the castle of its defensive role. After decades of ruin and neglect, the structure was restored by Eugene Viollet le Duc in the second half of nineteenth century. Today, the castle ranks as one of the most popular tourist destinations in France.


What is the history and origin of Carcassonne Castle?

The Carcassonne Castle was established by the Romans in 122 BCE. It was home to numerous rulers like the Romans, Visigoths, Saracens, and Franks until the construction of Chateau Comtal by the local Viscounts. Later, the castle became a defensive structure during the Crusades. However, the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees stripped the castle of its defensive role and led to its ruin and neglect. It was revived and restored in the nineteenth century and is now a tourist attraction.

What are the main attractions and highlights of Carcassonne Castle?

The main attractions of the Castle of Carcassonne are the Chateau Comtal and the Museum of the Middle Ages. You can also admire the massive Sculpture of Lady Carcas and visit the stunning Basilique Saint Nazaire during your tour. Climbing the watch towers like the Bishop’s Tower is a popular activity, as is walking along the ramparts that offer stunning panoramic views.

How can visitors get to Carcassonne Castle?

Carcassonne Castle is located at 1 Rue Viollet le Duc, 11000 Carcassonne, France. You can get here by bus, train, and even by air.

By Bus – The nearest bus stop is Carcassonne, where many buses provide regular services.

By Train – Take the SNCF Line on the main Toulouse Montpellier route and get down at Carcassonne stop, which is the closest train station.

By Air – Carcassonne has an airport, the Aeroport Sud de France Carcassonne. You can easily get taxis and shuttle buses to the castle from here.

What are the opening hours and ticket prices for Carcassonne Castle?

The castle is open from April to September between 10 AM and 6:30 PM and from October to March between 9:30 AM and 5 PM. The attraction remains closed on January 1, May 1, and December 25.

Entry tickets for adults cost €11 per person. Entry is free for visitors aged under 18 years, EU nationals, and non-EU French residents aged between 18 and 25 years.

What amenities and facilities are available for visitors at Carcassonne Castle?

Important amenities available at the castle include male and female washrooms and baby changing stations with diaper changing tables. The attraction also has wheelchair accessibility and has facilities like adapted washrooms for convenience. Another facility is of electric charging stations, where you can charge your electric vehicles within the castle. Audio guides are also provided for a detailed experience of the historical landmark.


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