Carcassonne is the perfect visitor destination, with a UNESCO-listed medieval city centre just waiting to be explored, a location in the south of France just perfect for wine tasting and a history so rich and complex that it keeps travellers enthralled for weeks on end. Hiring a car from one of the many agencies located in the city is a great way to see the surrounding area. Swathed in stunning vineyards and surrounded by typical southern French villages, Carcassonne is the perfect place to be based.
Who to Book With
Travellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to renting a car in Carcassonne. There are many international operators to be found here, including Europcar, Avis and Hertz. All of these agencies can be found at the airport and at the central railway station. Advanced online booking is advised, as vehicles tend to get snapped up quite quickly in this region.
Best time to go
Carcassonne experiences a temperate climate, with all for seasons boasting relatively moderate temperatures. The city is at its best during the summer, however, as winter sees many establishments close their doors. Summer is also peak season in the city, with prices rising sharply. Booking accommodation and rentals in advance is advised.
Need to Know Essentials
Without the following documents, getting your rental car is going might be a bit of a problem:
- A passport valid for no fewer than six months
- The credit card used to make the booking
- An International Driving Permit
- Proof of booking
For more info read our FAQ's.
Driving in Carcassonne is difficult, at least during the day, as cars are not permitted to enter La Cite (the old centre). Driving outside of the old centre and its surrounds generally causes no hassle, however, as the roads are well maintained. Parking in the city centre is obviously not an option, but there are large parking areas just outside of the centre boundary. Drivers can choose to pay hourly or daily rates, which usually cost between €3.50 and €5. Parking overnight is prohibited.
You can read more about general driving in our guide to France.
Much of the Cite can be explored on foot, as many of the sites are close together. Carcassonne does, however, boast an impressive public bus system for those that prefer motorise transport, although there is no local train line. Travellers arriving from the airport will be happy to know that there is a free shuttle to the city centre; during the peak season, this shuttle also operates services between the Cite and the new town.
Buses in the city are operated by the Agglo’Bus Company. The routes are quite extensive. Most operate within the city boundaries, but many travel to the outskirts as well. Tickets can be purchased from any bus station, any Agglo Bus kiosk or on the vehicles themselves. Single journey tickets cost around €1 depending on the distance, but weekly and monthly passes can also be bought.
Taxis are available all over the city but are most commonly used when arriving at the central railway station. There are no free shuttles at the railways station, so most of the taxis can be found waiting for the next long-distance train to arrive. Taxis can also be pre-booked in advance. All companies belong to the Association of Carcassonne Radio Taxis.
Carcassonne is a gem of a city, located in an equally mesmerising region. Surrounded by the Languedoc wine lands, Carcassonne is the perfect place from which to embark on a quintessential French wine tour. There are also many quaint villages only a couple of hours away, where travellers can even plan an overnight stay.
Limoux - Less than an hour away is the charming village of Limoux. This town is home to many vineyards, where visitors could sample the seasonal pickings. The town’s people will not let travellers leave without trying the sparkling wine was invented here.
Montsegur - This is a historic town on the outskirts of Carcassonne and the site of the largest battle between the Cathers and the Crusaders. Travellers can visit the Cather castle, where thousands held strong against a brutal Crusader onslaught. The climb up to the castle is quite steep, so don’t forget your walking shoes.
La Cite des Oiseaux - Travellers with children and those with a keen interest in birding should make their way to La Cite des Oiseaux. Located 800m outside of the city centre, this popular bird park is home to more than 300 species of bird and many other mammals and reptiles.