Traveling through Languedoc, this is a "must-see" for kids. "Carcassonne is every child's dream of a walled city," says a friend.

Carcassonne began as a Roman city (Carcaso), more defenses were added by the Visigoths, and the citadel was really fortified in the 10th-13th centuries. The city was the target of two major sieges in the 13th century, but withstood the attacks. In the 19th century, Carcassonne was restored, and it one our favorite castles in Europe for kids to explore.

On our blog: Tips for Visiting Carcassonne .

The "Cité "- Today, the Cité is the largest of it's kind - a double-walled stronghold, with numerous towers and ramparts, enclosing a medieval town, castle and cathedral.
The 12th century Chateau Comtal is a fortified castle , with dry moat, bridge, watchtowers and walls. The moat is now a grassy area where kids can run around.
Inside the castle, is a museum with model of the fortress, carved stone artifacts - sandstone statue of a medieval knight dressed in armor, the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, portraits of people from the Roman era.
Walking through the rooms, imagine the tall tower where Trencavel family lived, and facilities such as kitchen, bakery, chapel, stables, forge, watchtowers and arsenal with war machines.
From the castle, explore the North Ramparts, or West Ramparts.
North Ramparts - Start at the large castle courtyard with tree in the center (Cour du Midi), follow the walls, some of the towers are 4th century Roman. You'll pass through the Treaus Tower, where the royal treasure was stored, exit at the Narbonne Gate.
West Ramparts - Begin at Cour d' Honneur courtyard. These ramparts are medieval era, including the tower for the Inquisition. Exit the walls near Saint-Nazaire Cathedral.
Saint-Nazaire Basilica , Romanesque and Gothic style church with lovely stained glass windows, tombs of medieval bishops, statues of Virgin Mary, and the Apostles, gargoyles on the exterior of the church.
School Museum (Musee de l'Ecole ) - Visit the School Museum (3 Rue du Plo) to see a 19th - early 20th century century classroom and try writing with an old fashioned pen.
Narbonne Gate (Port Narbonnaise) -
The main entrance to the city on the east side is dramatic - two big guard towers with slits, where archers stood ready to release their arrows. Statue is legendary Dame Carcas, a brave woman who defended the city.
- Petit Train de la Cite â-€-“ Take the tram around the medieval city, a good introduction and gives you a sense of how big an area is enclosed in the walls.
- Tour the inner walls in a horse drawn carriage .
Below the fortress, cross over the Old Bridge , linking the Cité with the town or follow paths along the River Aude .
In town (Ville Basse) , walk the tow paths along the Canal du Midi and watch the locks in operation.
Outside of town, at Cavayere Lake (Lac de la Cavayere) there's swimming and pedal boats.
Family Hotels

Here's Travel for Kids list of family hotels, all styles and price ranges, convenient to fun things to do with kids in Carcassonne: