Carcassonne & Toulouse

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One of southern France’s ancient border regions, this area is still dotted with medieval strongholds, castles and citadels. Whereas the area’s bloody and unstable past is just a faint memory, the Dark-Age strongholds and Cathar castles still pique the imagination with fantasies of courageous knights, beautiful princesses and righteous kings. Not only is the history all-pervasive in this part of the South of France, it’s also known for its natural beauty and relaxing outdoor sports as well as its superb French and Spanish cuisine.

Legendary Carcassonne must be the best preserved and definitely best-known stronghold in this region. From the main autoroute you can get some magnificent views of this hilltop citadel with its powerful watchtowers peaking out over the rest of the city and the rough mountain scapes in the background. More modern Toulouse is best known to be a major student city, vibrant year-round with lots of cafés, bars, restaurants and underground party scenes. Even though it’s not as close to the Mediterranean as traditional holiday destinations, its rich history and lively atmosphere make a great combination for a fun couple of days out.