Why not move to a city that is steeped in history, boasts a citadel that inspired fairy-tales and is surrounded by unspoilt medieval villages?

The Cité de Carcassonne is the second-most-visited monument in France, after the Eiffel Tower. This huge medieval fortress sits high above the town of Carcassonne and never fails to impress, however many times we see it. If you have yet to see it, put it on your list: it is a must for any visitor to the South of France.

The Cité de Carcassonne is the second most visited monument in France, after the Eiffel Tower.

Supposedly the Cité inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, due to its fairy-tale like appearance. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

It has a fascinating history dating back to the Middle Ages. It was a flourishing castle during the late 12th century, owned as it then was by the Trencavel family. However, in 1355 the Black Prince who marauded his way across this part of the South of France was unhappy at not being able to take control of the citadel, so set fire to it and it burnt to the ground. Much of it was then rebuilt with just parts of it remaining from the 14th century.

It became a key player in trade with Spain for many years, but when the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed in 1659, trade largely diminished. The requirement for protection and maintenance diminished as a result, and it fell into a state of disrepair.

Later in the 1800s the architect Viollet le Duc started to restore the citadel, and it gradually resumed its breathtakingly beautiful appearance, which remains today.

 

The Cité de Carcassonne

 

Carcassonne today

At night time it is lit up with soft orange light, and the French are so proud of it that they have even cut down the trees along the A61 motorway from Toulouse, allowing passing motorists and their passengers a chance to admire its beauty – you really cannot miss it.

Aside from the Cite de Carcassonne, the historic city of Carcassonne also merits a visit. It is a pretty place with a large square in the centre surrounded by cafes, restaurants and shops: a wonderful place to linger with a glass of wine or coffee and watch the world go by. As a base to stay it is hard to beat, and from here one can venture out to other Cathar monuments such as the Abbey de Fontfroide and Lastours. Close to the Canal du Midi you will find plenty of very pretty ancient villages and medieval monuments throughout the area.

Carcassonne is surrounded by picturesque medieval villages and lush countryside. However hectic your property viewing trip you should leave time to visit.

Carcassonne is experiencing an injection of investment to improve its facilities and infrastructure. Great news for anyone who is looking to buy property in the area. As well as being one of the most attractive cities in France, Carcassonne is surrounded by picturesque medieval villages and lush countryside. However hectic your property viewing trip you should leave time to visit.

What you will find on that property viewing is homes in the Aude at a full range of prices. Small houses and apartments go for between €50,000 and €100,000, depending on how well renovated they are, and when you get above €150,000 you should get a garden or good-sized terrace. Above €225,000 you should get a swimming pool or large garden.

Look for a property in historic Carcassonne – or anywhere else in France – via the Property Guide listings

With regular flights from London Stansted to the charming small airport of Carcassonne throughout the year, this is a must see for anyone who loves France.

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