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Carcassonne and Cathar Castles of France

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4.1 stars(39 reviews)
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A beautiful and captivating region of France

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
7 days From £1,595 per person

2022 Tour code: CAB22

About the tour

From timeless vineyards and sun-drenched hills to imposing Cathar castles and historic abbeys, this holiday showcases the very best of the Languedoc region. We explore the walled Cité of Carcassonne and discover the famous flavours of historic Narbonne, fully immersing ourselves in the French way of life.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Carcassonne

We meet at London St Pancras and board the Eurostar for Paris. We continue to Toulouse where we board a coach to Carcassonne. Our hotel here is the 5-Star Hotel du Roi & Spa by Sowell, where we stay in deluxe rooms overlooking the medieval city.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Carcassonne

We explore Carcassonne on a guided tour. With a UNESCO-listed centre, this historic destination is renowned for its city walls, defensive towers and drawbridges - all original features. Accessed by an ancient bridge which crosses the former moat, the Cité encapsulates romantic medieval France, with our tour also including entrance to Château Comtal, a 12th-century hilltop fortification which boasts a fascinating museum. The rest of your day is free. You may want to cross into the newer part of town, filled with good restaurants and independent boutiques, to sample a some traditional, regional dishes. You could also take a relaxed stroll along the banks of the Canal du Midi.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Narbonne

Today's excursion takes us to Narbonne, watched over by its wonderfully dramatic Gothic cathedral. We set out on a guided walking tour of the Robine Canal, lined with pretty promenades, and an exposed section of the Via Domitia Roman Road. Next, we see the grand courtyards of the Archbishop's Palace before moving on to Les Halles market. Built in 1091, this indoor food market is a feast for the senses, and we experience it on a food tour, visiting many of the different stalls for a taste of the region's excellent cured meats and cheeses. We'll also sample a variety of other specialties, such as locally-grown olives, tapenade and some of the region's delicious Muscat wine. We continue our gastronomic adventure this evening with a traditional cassoulet dinner, a dish of pork and duck cooked with haricot beans.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Châteaux de Lastours

We explore the historic Châteaux de Lastours area, set in the heart of the Cathar countryside. The area is famous for its sun-drenched vineyards, tranquil villages, scattered Roman ruins and medieval castles, and is home to a collection of four former Cathar fortresses - historic castles once a place of refuge for the Cathars during the religious persecutions of the 13th century. We visit Belvedere Point, where there's free time to admire the views before we explore the châteaux themselves, afterwards making our way to a nearby restaurant for lunch, accompanied by local wine, before transferring back to Carcassonne.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 - Mirepoix

A coach takes us to Mirepoix for the town's weekly market. Located in the medieval square, Place des Couverts, there's time to sample fresh, regional produce as well as purchase home-made crafts and wine. During your time here, you may also like to visit the town's Gothic-style Cathedral of Saint Maurice, the former Bishop's Palace and the Porte d'Aval - the only original remainder of Mirepoix's 14th-century fortifications. Returning to the hotel, we take a scenic drive through the French countryside, travelling through charming villages and passing ruined castles and verdant woodland.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 – Château de Pennautier

Enjoy a free day in Carcassone ahead of a wine tasting and farewell meal in the grounds of Château de Pennautier this evening. Dating back to the 1600s, this golden-coloured stately home is set within beautiful French style gardens and the trailing vines of plants owned by the ten generations of the Lorgeril family. Our delicious dinner, served in a rustic restaurant that's been converted from a former sheepfold, is made up of multiple courses of local specialties, accompanied by wines produced in the château's very own vineyards.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Carcassone and London

We transfer to Toulouse after checking out of our hotel, continuing by rail to Paris where we board the Eurostar to London St Pancras.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Hotel Du Roi & Spa by Sowell

Hotel Du Roi & Spa by Sowell, Carcassonne

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Trains

Eurostar
TGV

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Reviews

4.1 stars4.1 / 5 · 39 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (15)
  2. 4 stars
    (15)
  3. 3 stars
    (8)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

G Sturgess

3 stars

Submitted 27/Jun

Liaison/communication between GRJ and local providers needs to be sharper : tour guides were unclear about meeting points and tour contents; initial coach provision was poor until resolved by Tour Manager; there was confusion about the chateau visit. Hotel location and room with terrace lovely. Breakfasts and all meals (in hotel and other venues) very good indeed. Gare du Nord was as painful ever! - not down to GRJ, though.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mrs Rosemary Morgan

1 stars

Submitted 22/Jun

The Company hadn't bothered to check that what was offered in 2019 was still available, it wasn't. So every day there was a worry over transport, time at the venue, whether the "highlights" were actually Available or whether we had to go back in free time to pay to see the Carcassonne Castle etc which we had alreadg paid for. Whether the Tour Guide would give us the advertised tour or something completely different! The hotel was given the wrong time of our arrival so our meal, which by 9pm we needed but was almost too late to eat, was expected to be served at 7.30pm. Poor chef! Block train tickets for seats that had been sold to other people. Dietary necessities only available for set meals but not for breakfast! The new owners of the hotel were very helpful and all the staff kind and pleasant. The poor Tour Manager was left to remake and check all the trips, meals, guides etc because Head Office were being useless and only available in Office Hours. Poor man, he worked so hard to give us a good time and took the brunt of all the disappointments .

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P Le Jeune

4 stars

Submitted 22/Jun

Wonderful destination and one of the best hotels we’ve stayed in with you. Chris Kimber, our guide, was excellent despite having picked up the trip at short notice, and having to cope with some transport problems. Also a mix up with our guide in Narbonne who didn’t seem to know about the visit to the closed market. Overall , very enjoyable.

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Tony Davies

4 stars

Submitted 11/Jun

I thought I had already submitted a survey. Excellent tour, temporarily 'derailed' by fault on Eurostar line Calais-Lille setting back schedule +4 hours.

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Marilyn Ireland

3 stars

Submitted 7/Jun

Circumstances beyond anyone's control resulted in a delay of 3 hours arriving at Gare du Nord. Consequently we missed the connection to Toulouse. Our rep was very good in communicating with the French rail personnel and managed to get us on a later train. The hotel was presented as a 5 star hotel but this was not the case. Hotel staff left tables uncleared from breakfast, had to constantly ask for cutlery and no variety on the breakfast menu. Tea and coffee had to be obtained via a machine, not brought to the table as one would expect in a 5 star hotel. The food served at the group dinners was ok but seemed to be of a lesser standard than if one booked to eat in the restaurant. Disappointed in the trip to Narbonne as by the time we finished the tour we only had 30 minutes in which to view the indoor market, and stalls were already closing when we arrived. The lunch we had at a local restaurant was not good; some had undercooked chicken and some had tough chicken. We were looking forward to our final night dinner at a chateaux but someone had not checked it was open and so we had lunch instead which was wonderful.We did not have a regular coach driver and on our departure date the driver did not know where the rail station was in Toulouse, missing the turning and then dropping us off at the bus station which resulted in us having a brisk walk to reach the rail station with only a few minutes to spare before the train departed. The area of Carcassone was lovely and we enjoyed our visit to Mirepoix but the hotel had more issues than I have mentioned so I would not stay there again.

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P Harris

3 stars

Submitted 6/Jun

Poor hotel service not up to a 5 star barely reach a 4 star

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Carcassonne and Cathar Castles of France

A beautiful and captivating region of France

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