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In the south of France, close to the border with Spain, the medieval city of Carcassonne rises above the rugged hills of the Aude region. A city of 50,000 people, Carcassonne and its region have been occupied for thousands of years, and the traces of this long history can be seen everywhere.
None of these traces are more spectacular than the hilltop city of Carcassonne itself. The fully preserved medieval battlements and walls of the ancient town look like something out of a fairytale, and the castle, known as the Cite, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, Carcassonne is not as well-known outside of France as you would expect. Although the city receives three million visitors a year, the majority of them come from within France.
Nowadays, Carcassonne is a city split in two by the River Aude. The ancient fortified city sits on a hilltop to the south of the river, while the more modern town is on the north side. As a result, Carcassonne offers a mix of things to do, both in the town itself and in the surrounding region. That, combined with the reliably sunny weather of the city, makes it a fantastic place to visit no matter what you're interested in.
There's more to do in Carcassonne than the relatively small size of the city would suggest. The fortified city alone is worth at least a day of exploration, but while the castle is a must-visit, it's worth taking some time to experience the other things the town has to offer.
Step back in time at the fortified city of Carcassonne. More than a mere castle, the imposing walls and 50+ towers enclose a maze of narrow streets filled with restaurants, cafés, and shops. There is also a Museum of the Inquisition, and a walk along the walls offers breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside.
Relax with a scenic boat trip on the Canal du Midi. Many cruises depart from right outside the train station to cruise the placid waters of the canal. See the surrounding countryside from the unique vantage point of the water as you watch the world go by.
If you're lucky enough to be in Carcassonne in mid-July, you can't miss the Bastille Day fireworks. With the stunning battlements of the fortified city as a backdrop, the fireworks display in Carcassonne to celebrate the national holiday may be the best in all of France.
Visit the beating heart of modern Carcassonne at the Carnot Square market. This lively outdoor market takes place in the town's main square and is the perfect way to pick up some local produce, cheese, and wine. It's the place to go if you're planning a picnic. Or you can let someone else do the cooking for you at one of the many restaurants surrounding the square.
You may not expect to see kangaroos in southern France, but you can meet these and other friendly creatures from Down Under at Carcassonne's Australian Park. Australian Park is home to kangaroos, emus, parakeets, and other Australian animals, and you can interact with and even feed some of these creatures on your visit.
Carcassonne's small airport serves destinations through France, the UK, and North Africa. The nearest large international airport is at Toulouse, approximately one hour away.
Carcassonne train station lies just to the north of the city center on the other side of the Canal du midi. Trains connect Carcassonne with other cities throughout France, Spain, and beyond.
It takes around 20 minutes to reach the fortified city from the train station on foot. If you don’t feel like walking, there is a tourist road train that operates in the summer, leaving from just the other side of the canal outside the train station.
Due to its relatively small size, Carcassonne is a very walkable city. A stroll from the train station to the fortified city will take you right through the heart of the modern town and allow you to soak up the atmosphere of this lively French municipality. But nothing ruins a trip quicker than carrying unnecessary luggage, so make sure you drop your heavy bags off at a luggage storage shop in Carcassonne before you set out. That way, your trip will be a lot more comfortable.
Castle Queribus: The countryside around Carcassonne is astonishingly rich in castles. One of the most impressive is Castle Queribus, a half-ruined fortification on top of a mountain around an hour and a half from the city. Once a stronghold of the Cathars, this castle is surrounded by legends and dominates the countryside for miles around. You can drive right up to the castle itself, but the views from inside will take your breath away. Make sure to leave your heavy bags at a Carcassonne luggage storage facility before you make the trip to this atmospheric ruin.
Narbonne: Around 50 minutes' drive from Carcassonne will take you to the charming coastal city of Narbonne. The stunning Gothic cathedral, started in the 13th century and never completed, is a highlight, as is the covered market. The town also has a beach on the Mediterranean, which makes a great place to beat the heat with a dip in the warm water. Trains and buses depart regularly from Carcassonne to Narbonne, so you won't have any trouble getting there. Make sure to leave unneeded baggage behind at a Carcassonne luggage storage service in to make the trip easier.
Niaux Cave: During the last Ice Age, only the southern parts of Europe were inhabitable. For that reason, southern France and Spain are particularly rich in prehistoric cave paintings. Most of the best-known painted caves have been closed to protect the artwork. However, Niaux Cave, an hour and a half outside Carcassonne, is still open to the public. Tours must be booked in advance and are limited to small groups to protect the paintings. The experience of seeing 15,000-year-old artwork is one not to be missed. The cave is in a more or less natural state and is, therefore, no place for heavy bags, so make sure you leave them at a Carcassonne luggage storage spot before you visit this unique site.
How much does luggage storage cost in Carcassonne?
The price for luggage storage in Carcassonne is just €5.00/bag for the entire day.
Is it safe to store your bags in Carcassonne?
Yes. Every bag is tagged with a security seal and comes with the $5,000 Bounce Guarantee. Every location is required to uphold tight security precautions. You may be asked to show ID and you will be required to use a credit card to book through Bounce in advance. With hundreds of thousands of bags stored, you can count on Bounce to handle your baggage in Carcassonne.
Are there storage lockers in Carcassonne?
Yes. There are storage lockers and many other luggage drop off points in Carcassonne. Bounce has multiple locations throughout Carcassonne where you can conveniently store your luggage with full security and the $5,000 Bounce Gurantee.
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