Carcassonne with family and the Cathar country

Travel Ideas
Last update:

Discover Carcassonne and the Cathar country with the family, it’s diving
in the medieval history of this region of Oc.

land located in
the department of Aude, between
the Black Mountain of Languedoc, the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees,
is also called Cathar country! This name is due to the
multitude of castles
built by Catharists,
“heretical” Christians
were decimated during a crusade against the Albigensians, other
name of this separatist community!

city ​​already great in Roman times, was a high place of the Middle
Age, and nowadays she is best known for this immense
citadel still standing! A perfect place for families
whose children are fan of knights! What to live the Middle
Life size age!

this article, I mix you up my
visit of Carcassonne in one day
and the vacation
summer in
by Mélanie.

Carcassonne in family and Cathar country with children stay and visit - trips and children

Visit Carcassonne with the family in one day

We have already passed the motorway twice admiring the stronghold of Carcassonne during our trip to the Basque Country! So we promised ourselves that the next time we went west, we would stop at Carcassonne. Something promised, something due, and it is by joining our friends we met in South America in Toulouse, which we took a break to discover this medieval city with children. So I share with you our family visit to Carcassonne.

Arriving in 4 × 4, 2.3m high, we only had access to the most distant parking lot P1, but free in July 2020! 5 to 6 min walk and here we are in front of the gates of Carcassonne and the famous statue of Dame Carcas (whose legend gives the name of this woman to the city!)

in the alleys of Carcassonne and its ramparts

the first drawbridge, 2 choices are available to us: return
in the alleys full of visitors, or go left to
follow the wide ramparts of the city. You know us, we
don’t like crowds! Direction the left!

Children can run here, admire the views, descend stairs leading to secret passages (but closed!) Etc. We then go up to the alleys, much less populated on this side here in the early morning. We get lost in the maze of small streets and come out on the count’s castle. By the way, we admire St Nazaire Cathedral.

It is also possible to take a guided tour to discover the whole citadel.

The suite in photo

Family stay in Carcasonne - Family visit trip

Carcassonne with family visit Saint-Nazaire-et-Saint-Celse basilica
Basilica of Saint-Nazaire-et-Saint-Celse

from Carcassonne castle with the family

Neither a
neither two, our masks in our pocket, here we are, booking the visit in
free access. No more places without reservation for visits
guided! Pity !

discover all the key elements of a medieval castle,
perfect for revising Mini Voyageur vocabulary:
machicolation, drawbridge, barbican (that nobody knew) …

going from room to room, but the children’s favorite part was
the path on the ramparts here very tight to see the landscape
from battlements and harrows.

  • Duration of the visit: around 1h30 reading the various explanatory panels
  • Recommended equipment: baby carrier – no strollers
  • Age requirement: from 3 years old
  • Price: € 9.5 / adult – free for children up to 18 years old
  • Book your skip-the-line entrance ticket
view of the Count’s castle of Carcassonne from the ramparts

To do
a treasure hunt in Carcassonne

In itself
returning to the Tourist Office, a paid treasure hunt is
possible. Alas, when we got there, no one
offered it to us. Was it due to the Covid, or did you have to book?
No idea !

possible visits to Carcassonne with children:

Of course, by spending the day there, other visits are possible. But we had to leave early to join our friends. We missed The haunted house, but especially the workshops of Center for Living Medieval History to experience this period of the Middle Ages.

With the little ones, a little tour in the tourist train, will allow you to discover the medieval city while letting Loulou’s legs rest!

Canal du midi by bike and with the family

Visit of the Cathar Country with the family: what to see around Carcassonne?

I will continue this article with Mélanie, who played the interview game to help us discover the surroundings of Carcassonne, namely the Cathar country.

She is 36 years old, her husband 38 and her 2 mini travelers Alessio 9 ½ years and Romeo 6 ½ years. They went there from August 20 to 25: “ Not many people on the sites or on the roads which is very pleasant – we left 4 ½ days and saw a beautiful panel of the region. (except the locks) “

Lastours châteaux for a family hike

It was
the vsoup
Melanie’s heart
15 minutes by car from Carcassonne, the Castles of Lastours are
four in number: Cabaret,
Surdespine, Quertinheux and the Régine tower
It is accessed from the village of Lastours, by paying a fee
entry (€ 8 / adult in 2020).

The hike lasts about 2 hours to enjoy the site. An archaeological museum and exhibitions on flora and fauna complete the site. For a complete view of the site, go to the belvedere of Montfermier , accessible by car.

abyss of
Cabrespine – Visit
around Carcassonne with the family

abyss leads you to discover the depths of the earth at
only 25 min from Carcassonne. Discovered in 1934, this site is
by the size of its rooms. The site visit can be done either
by living a real adventure in a more
traditional on the Balcons du Diable, accessible to strollers
and wheelchairs, in 50 min.

The adventure part invites you to an underground canoe trip (3h – over 10 years old – 1.50m arms raised) or to try the experience of an underground acrobatic course (3h – 1.60m minimum arm raised – 12 years).

The caves
family in Cathar Country

visit of Mélanie, this cave of Limoussis is 17 km
south of Carcassonne. An hour-long descent into the bowels of

Making paper at the Brousse et Villardet paper mill

This is one of the highlights of Mélanie’s vacation ! And I understand her: we saw a paper factory in one of the prettiest villages in Colombia and it had really pleased our whole family.

for € 2.5 in
supplement of the visit,
you create 2 sheets of paper yourself, following the
main steps (fastest).

from Lake Cavayère

A stay around Carcassonne and in the Cathar country is not complete without a dive into the Cavayère lake, lake created by the construction of a dam.

scheduled his visits in the morning and ended the day at the lake, where
his little family was able to savor the joys of the Aquapark
jump and
the tree climbing.

Cathar country with family and Carcassonne - Lac de Cavayère

Practical information for visiting Carcassonne and the Cathar countries with the family

Melanie: It is hot, but the wind cooled quickly all the same. I favored visits outside and hiking in the morning or late morning. The wind really bothered us and despite the 32 ° C around 5:30 pm, it was starting to get chilly in the water.

How? ‘Or’ What
organize your days?

rather went downtown in the morning; at the end of the day,
we always end up at the lake of cavayere history that the children
let off steam too.

Where to stay with the family in Carcassonne or in the Cathar country?

In bivouac (4 × 4, van, motorhome), it is imperative to get away from Carcassonne. We had slept in the small mountains south of Carcassonne, 30 min drive about.

On the Travel and children forum, several of you recommended us:

  • Cabins in the Woods ». And indeed, this accommodation package looks really top notch! with superb comfortable cabins for rent!
  • The Hibiscus House, apartment with swimming pool, with the owners right next door,
  • The Ecological gîte Veda

How to come to Carcassonne with the family?

By car: from Bordeaux, 3h20 via A61 and A62 – from Marseille: 3h30 – from Lyon: 6h – From Nantes: 6.15 am – from Paris: 7.20 am

Children’s books on Carcassonne

You know, I love to set the mood for us through books. So here is my selection:

So, tempted by Carcassonne and the Cathar country with the family?

For further
  • Other holiday ideas in Occitania
  • Weekends and holidays in France
  • All our tested accommodations

Ideas for activities to book in Carcassonne

Ideas for family tours in France