The medieval Cité de Carcassonne, a World Unesco heritage site is not to be missed. Stroll along the two rings of fortified walls and bustling cobbled streets with restaurants and craft shops. In the summer, medieval jousting is held daily at the Cité and on Bastille Day (14 July) the Cité is ‘set alight’ with a breath taking firework display.
The countryside is varied throughout the year, poppies, sun flowers and of course vineyards stretching out as far as the eye can see. There are many Abbeys, Romanesque churches, Cathar castles, stunning Cathedrals, medieval villages and colourful open air markets.
For the lovers of outdoor pursuits you are spoilt for choice. Gorges, valleys and mountain massifs offer a wide range of outdoor activities, from walking, hiking, canyoning and rafting to rock climbing and paragliding. Canoeing and kayaking is found along the river Aude and there are tranquil hidden spots for fishing enthusiasts to while away the hours.
The Canal Du Midi runs through the area. The beautiful tree lined route is perfect for an evening stroll or cycle ride. Take a relaxing cruise along the Canal from the ports of Carcassonne, Trebes, Homps and Le Somail. Choose between tourist boats with a guide, or hire your own boat by the hour or for the day.
During the summer months, enjoy Lac de La Cavayere, a lovely safe swimming lake with a sandy beach, known locally as ‘Carcassonne Plage’. You can also book the horse-riding trek and there is a child friendly thrilling aerial adventure park next to the lake, with rope ladders in the trees and a dare devil cable swing over the water. An Australian Animal Park is also close by and larger aqua parks and adventure playgrounds can be found within 20 minutes.
Golf is popular with the warm climate making it a pleasure to play. There are ten clubs, including championship courses. Golf de Carcassonne is 30 minutes from the Chateâu and is suitable for all levels.
Located within 1H20, Toulouse is a must visit. Ochre rooftops and blushing brick churches earned Toulouse the nickname ‘La Ville Rose’ (The Pink City). Its enchanting Vieux Quartier (Old Quarter) is a dreamy jumble of coral-coloured shopfronts and churches. Beyond the old town, Toulouse sprawls into France’s fourth-largest metropolis. It’s an animated, hectic place, but Toulouse – nestled between a bend in the Garonne River and the mighty Canal du Midi – is invigorated by its waterways. Toulouse knows how to have a good time, whether in teeming food markets, salons de thé, or the thick of its smouldering jazz, techno and rock scenes. From the tips of dusky pink spires to its loudest bars, time spent in Toulouse truly has a rose-tinted sheen.
The sun drenched beaches along the Mediterranean coast are just 45 minutes away, with Narbonne plage boasting a beautiful long sandy beach. Ski resorts such as Mijanes can be reached within 90 mins and the Spanish border in 80 mins.
Built in 1127, Château de Douzens was home to the all-powerful Knights Templar during the Middle Ages. Although never officially identified, local legend has it that Château de Douzens is one of these former Templar Houses and therefore potentially the site of buried Templar treasure – so much so that Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler sent a search team to the area, headed by Otto Rahn, the archaeologist who was the inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones. Some of the original aspects remain to this day.
Château De Douzens
3 Place de l’Église
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