languedoc-roussillon
Carcassonne

When you're 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 beefed up in the 10th-13th centuries. The city was the target of two major sieges in the 13th century, but withstood the attacks. As a result of the 1209 rebellion, the dreaded Simon de Montfort became the Viscount of Carcassonne. In the 19th century, the fortress was restored and turrets added.

The "Cite"- Today, the Cite is the largest of it's kind - a double-walled stronghold, with numerous towers and ramparts, enclosing a medieval town, chateau and cathedral.
The main entrance through the Narbonne Gate (Port Narbonnaise) is dramatic - two big guard towers with slits, where archers stood ready to release their arrows. Walk around the narrow streets of the medieval town. The 12th century Chateau Comtal is a fortified castle, with it's own moat, bridge, gatehouse and walls. Don't miss the Saint-Nazaire cathedral, a Romanesque and Gothic style church with lovely stained glass windows. From the Aude Gate or Saint-Nazaire Tower, you can run around in the wide grassy areas between the crenellated walls.
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.
At the Jardin du Prado, take a ride on the old-fashioned merry-go-round. Definitely fun for little ones.
Tour the inner walls in a horse drawn carriage (get carriages at the Narbonne Gate).
Below the fortress, cross over the Old Bridge, linking the Cite 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.

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