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Carcassonne and Cathar Castles of France

4.3 stars(30 reviews)

A beautiful and captivating region of France

7 days From £1,595 £1,395 per person
Booking Offer

Save upto £300 per person on selected Worldwide and Europe 2022 holidays when you book between 29th December 2021 and up to and including 31st January 2022.

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Flexible Booking

Book your 2022 holiday between 8th December 2021 and up to and including 31st January 2022 and you can transfer your holiday for free - no questions asked. T&C's apply

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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.


What’s included


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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Du Roi & Spa by Sowell

Hotel Du Roi & Spa by Sowell, Carcassonne

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4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 30 reviews

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

A. Varley

5 stars

Submitted 22 Oct 2021

The usual well organised excellently accommodated holiday we have come to expect from Great Rail Journeys

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Peter Wallis

5 stars

Submitted 21 Oct 2021

Wonderful scenery, marvellous food, friendly people, good company, plenty of outings what more do you want.

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John Giblin

5 stars

Submitted 20 Oct 2021

A fantastic tour in every possible way. What a wonderful place Carcassonne is and the hotel was first class too with excellent service all-round. I would strongly recommend this tour if you love history, heritage and culture.

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5 stars

Submitted 30 Sep 2021

This holiday is way up there besides other favourite holidays with GRJ. COVID requirements in France did not affect the enjoyment of the holiday, in fact they made it feel a safer place to be. Firstly the Hotel du Roi lived up to everything you would expect from a 5* Hotel; high quality rooms, facilities, food and attentive staff. I even had a glass of champagne (included in the breakfast buffet) watching the sun rise over the Cite on the morning of departure! There was a good balance between planned trips and free time. The planned activities were most enjoyable and informative about local history. Our day in Narbonne coincided with the National Patrimoine Day (Heritage Day) when as well as the entrance fee to Museums & other Historic places being free, there were exhibitions & celebrations take place in the streets. It was so interesting & enjoyable. Another highlight for me was the visit to Mirepoix on market day followed by a coach drive through the French countryside. Carcassonne itself is a very interesting place to stay. The hotel was well placed by the river for both the Cite and the town in the other direction. Plenty to do all around. I took myself off for a boat ride along the Canal du Midi which I thoroughly enjoyed. Finally a word to solo travellers who might be considering a holiday with Great Rail Journeys. This was my 6th holiday with them since I was widowed and I intend to do many more. As a lone traveller you feel safe with them. Any problems, should they arise, are not your problem but expertly resolved by the Tour Manager. Fellow travellers have always been very inclusive and I have never felt left out, in fact far from it.

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Edward Wallis

5 stars

Submitted 29 Sep 2021

The holiday was excellent, the area of France is very lovely to visit. Only slight concern was the lack of correct and accurate information regarding the Covid certification paperwork and issues over luggage transfers but this is an issue with suppliers not GRJ. Excellent Tour Manager, very knowledgeable! ????

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Margaret Norris

4 stars

Submitted 29 Sep 2021

A good hol. Where is the case?

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Carcassonne and Cathar Castles of France

A beautiful and captivating region of France


Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
Luke Simpson