Carcassonne – the famous walled city of France. It’s a beautiful place to visit and to stay. Even a short trip spent inside the city walls can be a truly magical experience. However, Carcassonne isn’t all about ancient fortifications and impregnable 13th century walls. There’s a lot more to both the city and the area than that. The city of Carcassonne tends to be so dramatic and so breathtakingly beautiful that people forget about the surrounding countryside. If you’re planning a trip to Carcassonne this summer – why not consider a stay outside the city walls? It tends to be much cheaper, much quieter and it will give you the opportunity to visit many of Carcassonne’s more secret attractions.
That’s not to say that a stay within the city walls can’t be fun too. There are hundreds of hotels located in Carcassonne city and the vast majority are of an extremely high quality. Here’s a guide to some of the best accommodation in Carcassonne
Hôtel de la Cité
The four star Hôtel de la Cité is located next door to the Basilica Saint-Nazaire – a 6th century cathedral constructed by Visigoth king Theodoric II. It is extremely upmarket and very beautiful. Its rooms are artfully decorated with dark woods, warm shades and elegant soft furnishings. It has its own pool, wellness centre, restaurant and award winning wine cellar. Visitors can book private wine tasting sessions or enjoy a drink, canapés and piano music in the elegant library bar. A stay at the Hôtel de la Cité does come with a hefty price tag but it is more than worth the cash, says Guardian journalist Vicky Baker. This is a hotel that welcomes children but it is, admittedly, a very grown up environment and probably more suited to couples than families.
Des Trois Couronnes
A stay at the Des Trois Couronnes hotel is a lot more affordable than a stay at the Hôtel de la Cité. Plus, it’s equally charming. It might not have its own acclaimed wine cellar or its own library bar, but the Des Trois Couronnes remains a wonderful place to stay. It’s located 10 minutes outside of the city walls, so it has an extremely dramatic view and all the benefits of the surrounding countryside. It has a small pool, a terrace bar and rooms with panoramic views. All rooms are luxuriously furnished, but it really is that view that makes Des Trois Couronnes, says Tim Jepson from the Telegraph.
Hôtel Le Donjon
Back to the city now and the Hôtel Le Donjon – a warm, inviting hotel with a very reasonable price tag. Like the Hôtel de la Cité, it has its own wine cellar, only this one dates back to the 19th century. It can be privately booked for wine tasting and meals. The Hôtel Le Donjon is the only restaurant in the city of Carcassonne to hold a Michelin Star. Even if you’re not planning to stay here – you’ve got to try a meal at this hotel. Again, it has a pool and all of its rooms are sumptuously decorated.
Hôtel du Soleil
The Hôtel du Soleil is located in the outer city of Carcassone – across the river. It’s very close to the train station, so it’s a good place to stay for those planning to do a lot of sightseeing, says About.com journalist Kelby Carr. It’s a four star hotel and it does come with a fair few luxuries, though it is a lot more modern than many of the hotels inside the city walls. If you’re looking for a contemporary stay in the lower city of Carcassonne – try the Hôtel du Soleil. Interestingly, it does have a very beautiful grand staircase that is often cited as one of the most beautiful features in the area. It has a heated pool, a jacuzzi room, a sauna and a fitness centre.
This hotel is situated just a minute downhill from the city walls of Carcassonne. It’s the best of both worlds for tourists who can’t decide whether or not they want to stay in the city or outside it. It’s cheaper because it’s located outside, but it really is just outside the walls. It’s a little bit retro and dated in some respects, but the service at the Hôtel Aragon is extremely well regarded. The staff at this hotel aren’t interested in franchise or chain hotel dynamics – they want to get to know their guests.
Author Bio : Janifar is an award winning travel writer. She uses Chez Nous to find top quality accommodation in Carcassonne. Janifar can be found blogging about the different places she has visited over the years.