Thursday, 17 February 2011

Carcassonne's La Cite in Languedoc Roussillon

Author: BrianRS
Sitting on the banks of the River Aude overlooking 'La Bastide Saint-Louis' otherwise known as the 'ville basse of Carcassonne', is the world heritage site of 'La Cite' a vibrant walled city that dates back beyond medieval times and to this day operates as a living, working and thriving community.

La Cite caters primarily for the tourist industry these days having evolved into a major tourist attraction. Consequently within its walls you will find hotels, restaurants, cafes and shops to help serve the 3 million plus visitors that Carcassonne receives each year. There are also plenty of cultural events taking place covering art, music and the history of wine in the region, naming but a few.

The services that the businesses within the walled city offer are supplemented with regular displays of medieval activities such as jousting and dueling with exhibitions taking place during the summer months. The highlight of the year is the magnificent fireworks display that is held on the 14th July for Bastille Day when there is a re-enactment of 'La Cite Ablaze'. The display starts around 10.30p.m ensuring that night has well and truly fallen, providing the best possible back drop for this amazing show of pyrotechnics.

The castle has had it's critics, some will say that the restoration of the castle that took place around the mid 1800's has left the castle looking more like the work of Walt Disney than of the original craftsmen who first worked on the structure.

That opinion is all a matter of perspective however and there is no getting away from the fact that it is a magnificent structure that is likely to last for centuries to come. Had the restoration not taken place then there is a good chance it could already have fallen into irrecoverable ruin.

Beyond the city itself, there are numerous places of interest to visit, many of which relate to the 13th century and the persecution of the Cathars at that time. There are also inland lakes, rivers and mountains; not forgetting the wine regions of Corbieres and Minervoise which are both right on the doorstep of Carcassonne.

Many people base themselves in the centre of Aude so that they can access the Pyrenees Mountains, visit the Mediterranean coastline, follow the Canal du Midi or visit some of the other beautiful cities of the region such as Narbonne and Toulouse. With so much history, architecture and natural beauty in the region it really is a hard place to resist visiting.

Self Catering Holidays in Carcassonne are very popular either in the city itself or in the surrounding area. However to secure accommodation for the very popular months of July and August generally requires that bookings are made early.

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