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Five-Star Carcassonne, Châteaux & Vineyards

7 days From £1,895 £1,745 per person
4.2 stars(124 reviews)

Discover captivating Carcassonne, Cathar castles and historic Narbonne, on a luxurious five-star break

Save up to £400

Save up to £400 per booking on July-October 2024 holidays, when you book by 29th February 2024.

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Save up to £200pp

Save up to £200pp on selected 2024 last-minute holidays, when you book by 29th February 2024.

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Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: CAB24

About the tour

Explore Cathar castles, timeless vineyards and sun-drenched hills on an indulgent break, staying in five-star luxury. We tour the walled fortress city of Carcassonne, explore the enchanting Châteaux de Lastours area, enjoy lunch and wine tasting at the wonderful Château de Pennautier, discover the foodie flavours of historic Narbonne and visit the colourful weekly market in medieval Mirepoix.

Unforgettable experiences

Stay in the Five-Star Hotel du Roi & Spa by Sowell
Stay in the Five-Star Hotel du Roi & Spa by Sowell
Set on the banks of the River Aude, perfectly situated to explore the glorious citadel of Carcassonne and to venture into the city, our luxurious hotel has excellent facilities, and beautiful views of the castle and its ramparts.
Explore the fascinating Châteaux de Lastours
Explore the fascinating Châteaux de Lastours
From the panoramic Belvedere viewpoint we experience a stunning panoramic view of four historic Cathar fortresses perched among rugged hills. Here we can walk up the hills to see the ruined castles or enjoy spectacular views from the café.
Indulge in a delicious lunch and wine tasting at Château de Pennautier
Indulge in a delicious lunch and wine tasting at Château de Pennautier
This grand 17th century stately home is set within beautiful French-style gardens, with trailing vines cultivated by ten generations of the Lorgeril family. A traditional rustic lunch of several courses is accompanied by wines produced on the estate.
Discover historical Narbonne and Mirepoix’s weekly market
Discover historical Narbonne and Mirepoix’s weekly market
We explore the fascinating ancient city of Narbonne and take a guided tasting tour of Les Halles, its indoor food market. A feast for the senses, we sample the region's excellent cured meats and cheeses, olives, tapenade and Muscat wine. We also visit Mirepoix’s celebrated weekly market of fresh produce, home-made crafts and wine.
Tour of the medieval fortress town of Carcassonne
Tour of the medieval fortress town of Carcassonne
We step back in time to medieval France, on a guided walking tour of this wonderful UNESCO World Heritage site. Our tour includes entrance to the castle within its fortress walls, Château Comtal, and its intriguing museum.

What’s included


Day 1 - Meet in London for our journey to Carcassonne

We meet at London St Pancras and board the Eurostar to Paris. Travelling in style in Standard Premier Class, drinks and a light lunch are served at our seats. We continue by First Class rail to the city of Toulouse, travelling south through the heart of the French countryside. Arriving in the evening, we board a coach to our delightful destination, Carcassonne. Our hotel here is the elegant 5-Star Hotel du Roi & Spa by Sowell, on the banks of the River Aude, where we stay in Deluxe rooms with private terraces, offering outstanding views of the medieval walled city. Besides its stunning location, the hotel has excellent facilities including a peaceful spa and swimming pool. On arrival this evening, we enjoy a three-course dinner in our hotel restaurant.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar light meal
Day 2 – Exploring the walled medieval city of Carcassonne

This morning we explore the fabulous walled city of Carcassonne on a guided tour. Unsurprisingly - with its beautifully-restored slate roofs, pointed towers and fortified walls - this medieval citadel is listed as a World Heritage site. Entering the ancient bridge across the former moat feels like stepping back in time to romantic medieval France. Our tour includes entrance to Château Comtal, the hilltop castle within the walls, which houses a fascinating museum.

After our tour, from lunchtime, the rest of your day is free. You could choose to continue exploring the citadel, maybe visit the Gothic Basilique Saint Nazaire with its exquisite stained glass windows, or walk along the ramparts for views of the surrounding countryside. There are also a few restaurants set in a shady square within the citadel walls. Just across the Pont Vieux, ten minutes' walk away, is the newer part of town where our hotel is based. There you'll find lively squares, an arts museum, independent boutiques, cafés and restaurants. A stroll along the banks of the Canal du Midi is another lovely way to soak up the atmosphere of this historic city.

**Please Note: On 19/09/2024 departures - Day 2 and Day 3 have been swapped around.

  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Historic and beautiful Narbonne

Today's excursion takes us to Narbonne, whose main square is overlooked by a spectacular, yet unfinished, 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. This historic indoor food market is a feast for the senses, and we enjoy a private tasting experience, visiting different stalls and tasting the region's excellent cured meats and cheeses. We also sample other specialties, such as locally-grown olives, tapenade and some delicious Muscat wine. After our tour you are free to explore independently - one option is to visit the fascinating cathedral, or relax in its peaceful and shady cloister. Back at our hotel this evening, we continue our gastronomic adventure with a traditional cassoulet dinner, a dish of pork and duck cooked with haricot beans.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Explore the Châteaux de Lastours area

Today we explore the historic Châteaux de Lastours area, set in the heart of the Cathar countryside. Our first stop is the Belvedere viewpoint where we have a stunning panoramic view of four Cathar fortresses, set among rocky hills and valleys. These historic castles were once a place of refuge for the Cathars during the religious persecutions of the 13th century. From here we can either follow one of the marked routes up to the ruined castles or, as the terrain along the path is uneven, enjoy a slide show in English on the history of the Cathar Castles. There's a café at the site which is an ideal place to appreciate this special viewing spot of the castles. After free time to admire the views or explore the châteaux themselves, we make our way to a traditional auberge in the scenic Minervois wine region, where we enjoy a delicious four-course lunch accompanied by locally-produced wine.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 - Market day in medieval Mirepoix

Today a coach takes us to historic Mirepoix for the town's celebrated weekly market. Entering the wonderfully-preserved market square, Place des Couverts - which is bordered by half-timbered houses from the 13th to 15th century - the aromas, and the sound of lively trading and local performers evoke a sense of medieval times. Here you're free to explore at your own pace and to sample fresh, regional produce or purchase home-made crafts and local wine. While you're exploring the town, you may like to visit the Gothic-style Cathedral of Saint Maurice, the former Bishop's Palace, and the Porte d'Aval - the only remains of Mirepoix's original 14th-century fortifications. On our return journey to Carcassonne we take the scenic route into picturesque French countryside, travelling through the charming villages of Chalare, Puivert, Nebias, Quillan and Limoux, passing forested hills and ruined castles set in verdant woodland.

  • Breakfast
Day 6 – A private wine tasting and dinner at Château de Pennautier

After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, we are taken by coach for a wine tasting and farewell meal in the grounds of Château de Pennautier, 15 minutes' drive away. Built in the 17th century, this golden-hued stately home is set within beautiful French-style gardens, and its trailing vines have been cultivated by ten generations of the Lorgeril family. On arrival we are given a guided tour of the castle, the King's chamber, and grounds. Our wine tasting and guided tour of the production room takes place in the château's wine cellar followed by a delicious three-course lunch served in a rustic restaurant converted from a former sheepfold. Our meal is accompanied by pairings produced in the château's vineyards. We return to our hotel mid-afternoon and our afternoon and evening is at leisure to enjoy the sights of Carcassonne or perhaps to revisit a favourite restaurant.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 - Homeward bound

After our last breakfast in our lovely Carcassonne hotel, we transfer to Toulouse by coach, and continue by First Class train to Paris. As the changing scenery rolls past our windows, there's time to reflect on our holiday experiences in medieval France. In Paris, we join the Eurostar service to London St Pancras where our journey ends.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar light 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 Du Roi & Spa by Sowell

Hotel Du Roi & Spa by Sowell, Carcassonne

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4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 124 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Heather Hall

4 stars

Submitted 06 Nov 2023

The tour was very good but the information and expertise of the customer service team prior to the trip was very poor

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mrs Hall, Thank you for your review and those wonderful photos! I am glad to hear that your tour was very good, but it is a shame to hear that our team fell short. I will make sure to pass your feedback across so we can do better in the future. Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot


4 stars

Submitted 30 Oct 2023

Great holiday experience but awful experience on the coaches used in Paris and around Carcassonne.

Collected by Trustpilot

J Crofton

4 stars

Submitted 30 Oct 2023

Generally good. Small cheap bus from Gare du Nord to Montparnasse would not start. Manager did a good rescue job and got us all in taxis. Very few meals were included throughout the trip. If it becomes possible, I would suggest maximum use off TGV services which bypass Paris and continue to Lille. Crossing Paris is always a drag and discourages us from booking more trips.

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On-line Shy from Maidstone

5 stars

Submitted 26 Oct 2023

Carcassonne should be on everyone’s wish list. It is an amazing historical town in an area steeped in history, surrounded by Chateau’s, vineyards and dramatic scenery

Collected by Trustpilot


3 stars

Submitted 25 Oct 2023

The Citadel tour was very good. Trip to Narbonne was good. We really enjoyed the trip to the 4 castles but felt it was too rushed as we were going to have a 4 course meal (which was very well cooked) but far too much for a lunch. We weren't impressed with the market at Mirepoix which closed at 1 o clock and most of the coach were just killing time until the bus came to fetch us. We were then bused for nearly 2 hours to see a viewpoint. As it was a rail journey we felt there was too much travelling by bus. The hotel had a wonderful view of the citadel which was lovely but our television didn't work properly, the manager suggested we watched in the bar, Also the coffee machine in the breakfast room wasn't working.

Collected by Trustpilot


4 stars

Submitted 20 Oct 2023

It inadvertently became a true "Great Rail Journey" as GRJ had to get us to Toulouse by regular train when a rugby match coincided with TGV. A fascinating journey through the heart of rural France. Very good hotel with superb views from our balconies, clean, well appointed rooms, tasty food and complimentary champagne at breakfast. There was a varied programme of tours and excellent guides too. Our tour leader coped brilliantly despite being a last minute replacement for an ill colleague, . Having our own dining room in the hotel meant we were able to mingle with our group who were good company. Excellent holiday

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