Just 18 kilometers from Montréal away you will find the town of Carcassonne with 2500 years of history and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Canal du Midi and the magnificent Cité du Carcassonne, one of France's most famous monuments. Vacationers can also expect many other monuments, exciting museums, varied shopping opportunities and traditional wineries in the southern French city.
An excursion to Carcassonne is a must during a holiday in Montréal, because this venerable city has been populated since around 500 BC and was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC and has a lot to offer. The landmark of the city located in the Département Aude is the Cité of Carcassonne, a fortified city built on a hill and surrounded by a double ring of walls. Several hundred people still live inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. This fortress, unique for its size and state of conservation in Europe, is the perfect place to discover the traces of over 2000 years of history. The castle town, which has survived several battles and was the center of the Inquisition in southern France in the 13th century, attracts around 4 million visitors a year and is therefore one of the most popular sights in France.
The second UNESCO World Heritage Site in Carcassonne is the Canal du Midi flowing through the city. This waterway has been completed at the end of the 17th century and was designed by Pierre Paul Riquet to connect the French Atlantic coast with the Mediterranean. It goes 240 kilometers from Toulouse to the port of Sete. Since the Canal had long been an important trade route that gave the South of France an economic boost, its importance declined with the advent of the motorways. Many people sail in houseboats on the Canal du Midi and enjoy the view from the water onto lush vineyards, original villages and historic towns. Along the banks there are also beautiful hiking and cycling trails, which invite you to go on extended tours.
In addition to these two main attractions, Carcassonne also offers its visitors splendid buildings such as the former cathedral and today's Basilica St. Nazaire-St. Celse, which is one of the most important sacred buildings in southern France, and the current Saint-Michel Cathedral. In addition, people interested in the city's history and culture can look forward to top-class museums such as the Musee des Beaux Arts, which displays masterful paintings and ceramics from the 17th century to the present. The shopping street Rue Verdun attracts with varied shops and romantic cafés and on the weekly market that takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on the Place Carnot, you can get sun-kissed Mediterranean fruits and vegetables. Golf enthusiasts will find a masterly course at the foot of the fortress. For families and nature lovers, a trip to the turquoise Lac de la Cavayere, surrounded by a lush green Mediterranean landscape, is a great experience.
With its cultural treasures and other attractions, Carcassonne is always worth a visit. Why not visit the city during your stay in Montréal?