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    Out of a Fairytale

    Most visitors to Carcassonne come here for one thing: to see its fairytale, UNESCO World Heritage-listed castle sitting majestically on a hill east of the city.

    Spectacularly lit at night, this Cité is a restored medieval fortress with 52 towers, 2 outer walls covering almost 2 miles, and a drawbridge providing access to a keep. Twice daily there are medieval jousting displays within the walls. This intriguing castle has enchanted so many that it has appeared in novels, films and even inspired a board game.

    Some Carcassonne hotels, bars and restaurants can be found in the Cité but the majority are in the Ville Basse below. The stone Old Bridge, also lit at night, links it to the city center over the Aude River.

    Central Carcassonne also has its own sights including a fine art museum and a cathedral with impressive stained-glass windows. But its best feature is the South of France way of life, with relaxed bars and sidewalk cafes, some serving the local speciality – cassoulet. Other slow-paced attractions include boat trips along the Canal du Midi and visiting villages like Minerve in the surrounding hills.

    Served by national and low cost carriers, Carcassonne Airport is only 3 miles from the city center.