The Medieval Walled City of Carcassonne, Episode 23

Categories: Day -Trips from Toulouse, Toulouse Area

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon.

How much do you know about the city of Carcassonne? Are you thinking about going to see it for yourself? I have to encourage that because what a place and what a story!

Depending on the Day and Time of Year, Carcassonne Can Be Extremely Busy

But be warned: it's a touristy place. If you go without any preparation, you might be there with bus-loads of other visitors. Listen to this episode where we share all the secrets to a great visit to Carcassonne.

Let's start with this fact: the city of Carcassonne is the largest intact medieval walled city in all of Western Europe. It is like walking into a medieval dream. And because it is so stunning visually, it attracts a lot of visitors.

Are terrible crowds in Carcassonne a fatality? No. Choose your day and if you can't choose the day, at least choose your time. The crowds are only there for a few hours a day.

The Story of Raymond Roger Trencavel

And, whatever you do, listen to the story of the Cathars and how Raymond Roger Trencavel became a local hero fighting a cruel northerner named Simon de Montfort. The story will make the city come to life for you!

In this episode we also explain how the Walled City fell into disrepair and would have been dismantled were it not for the efforts of Prosper Mérimée and Viollet-le-Duc.

How About Eating Some Cassoulet?

Are you ready for a world-famous local specialty? How about some local wines? It is all in this episode on Carcassonne France.

And if you're in France with children, we can guarantee that it will awake their imagination and they will want to play knight and damsel. Nothing says that adults can't do the same.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: the walled city of Carcassonne is a UNESCO world heritage site, because there are few places in the world where old stones and history collide so beautifully.

Episode Highlights

  • What is Carcassonne?
  • How big is it?
  • Where Is Carcassonne?
  • Historical Background
  • Roman Times
  • Carcassonne France today, the climate and industry of the modern city
  • Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne
  • The Cathars
  • The Count of Toulouse
  • The Cathar Religion Takes Root in Occitania
  • What Is the Cathar Religion?
    • The Cathar Consolamentum
    • Aristocratic Women and the Cathar Movement
    • Cathar Geographical Expansion
    • Simon de Montfort, the Vilain
    • The Crussade Against the Cathars
    • No Water within the Walls
    • Trencavel, the Hero
  • Carcassonne After the Cathars
  • Carcassonne Gets a Second Set of Ramparts
  • The "Lice" in Carcassonne (FYI, nothing to do with head lice!)
  • Carcassonne Becomes Part of the Kingdom of France
  • Carcassonne the Impregnable City
  • The new city of Carcassonne
  • The Walled City Falls to Ruins
  • Prosper Mérimée and Viollet-le-Duc Save Carcassonne
  • 1850 Renovations of Carcassonne
  • Back to the Hotel de la Cité
  • Tips on the Best Way to Visit the Cité de Carcassonne
  • Entrance to the Medieval City of Carcassonne Is Free
  • The Shops in Carcassonne
  • The Secret of the Wall
  • Conclusion
Learn More: Best Things to Do Around Toulouse


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the modern city of carcassonne france seen from the ramparts
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Categories: Day -Trips from Toulouse, Toulouse Area

One Reply to “The Medieval Walled City of Carcassonne, Episode 23”

  1. I look forward to your podcasts each week, and have listened to most of them more than once. You are both great and so knowledegeble and interesting!
    I remember from my previous visit to Carcassone more than 10 years ago, the tour guide told us some kind of story about a seige that the city survived by fooling the military outside the walls by overfeeding a pig, even though food was very scarce, and throwing the pig over the walls to fool the soldiers into believing they still had lots of food inside the walls . I believe the guide said the trick worked and the seige was lifted.
    Do you know which battle this was… against the Church, the Northern French Kings, or later, the English?
    I am fascinated by this time in French history, and am looking forward to your upcoming podcast on the Cathars.
    We are planning on visiting some of the abandoned Cathar castles while on our visit to the French Southwest next September and are staying in Carcassone for 2 evenings.
    Your podcasts and web site have been a very informative and fun way to help in the planning of our trip!
    Thanks and keep up the good work!