Carcassonne is an awe-inspiring ancient walled city in the south of France. Once the heart and gateway linking trade between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, it has been ruled by Romans, Visigoths, and became a strategic seat of power for the early French kingdom. The most famous draw of this city is of course the medieval fortress which was excellently restored in 1853 and has since been labeled with distinction as an UNESCO world heritage site. There are many ways to get to Carcassonne, but the most important one will be your feet, as the best way to truly experience this city is to explore it on foot!
If you require a taxi, they can be found outside the main train station and at the Bd Omer Sarraut, one block down from the station. Expect to pay the typically high French taxi prices, but it might save you a lot of time and effort over carrying your luggage to your hotel. Many visitors find that they have a good experience driving themselves to Carcassonne, as it allows them the freedom to check out other interesting and beautiful sites which are so bountiful in this area of France. English language maps are found easily enough, and the French road signs are very clear so driving yourself can be an enjoyable adventure. Finding parking in old cities like Carcassonne however can be a challenge so don’t expect to be able to simply pull up to anything you want to see. In Carcassonne there is a parking area in front of the main entrance of to the city but you have to pay.
There is a train station just outside of the city that is run by a major passenger train company, so you can get train tickets to and from Carcassonne quite easily. If you want to take the train, it is advised to buy your tickets earlier rather than later to save yourself money. There is also a light rail for the city of Carcassonne, called the Carcassonne-Limoux-Quillan Train, that can get you many places quite cheaply around the city. The tourist focused “Le Petit Train” takes you around the outside of the Cite walls, and through the small, ancient village of Carcassonne, just outside it’s gates, it slowly moves it’s way round, giving some great views of the Fortress. You can get a true feeling of just how magnificent a fortress it is, it’s amazing how anyone managed to penetrate it’s walls. Some of the paths are quite steep at times so hold on.
Carcassonne’s airport is located fairly close to the city center (only 3 or 4 kilometers away), so getting into town is straightforward and relatively cheap. You could even walk from the airport to the city center in less than an hour if you wish. The airport also offers regularly scheduled airport shuttles that are cheap and a great way to get to your hotel and back to the airport.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about transportation in Carcassonne.
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