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Five-Star Carcassonne, Châteaux & Vineyards

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
7 days From £1,795 per person
4.2 stars(130 reviews)
Last 100 Spaces

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

No Single Supplement

No Single Supplement subject to availability on selected departures. 

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 · 130 reviews

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

Ian Cooper

4 stars

Submitted 23/May

Varied and stimulating

Collected by Trustpilot


2 stars

Submitted 20/May

Food at hotel (5 Star??) awful. Bar excessively expensive. Prevented the group from socialising.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 15/May

Excellent tour, my only observation would be that we only visited one vineyard and I expected more. Hotel in perfect location and all the local guides very informative. Good mix of organised tours and leisure time.

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4 stars

Submitted 15/May

The TOUR - managed by an excellent and very knowledgeable John Gilpin, was well balanced in terms of 'touring' and free time. The highlight for us was the trip to Chateaux de Lastours and the superb lunch at the Auberge de la Clamoux in Villeneuve which was accompanied by unlimited wine! Hotel du Roi however, did not live up to its ***** rating. Yes, the rooms were spacious and reasonably well-equipped but only three English-speaking channels and none of the usual trappings of a ***** hotel. No porterage. Only two dinners in the hotel (thankfully) when service was slow. Breakfast was decidedly **/*** stars with warm juices, tepid hot food, frequent shortages and on one day, frozen bread - in France! There is an indoor pool.

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Christine Goult

3 stars

Submitted 15/May

Lovely hotel with friendly staff but the food was poor. Carcassonne was stunning but some of the excursions were boring e.g if you’re not particularly fit the climb up to the Cathar castles was difficult and for those who stayed behind there was nothing to do. The trip to Mirepoix market was far too long and the drive back took in some villages but we never stopped to see them. The guide was very good and friendly and he navigated us well between the railway stations in Paris. Having to get your case on buses and trains was a bit onerous especially dragging it up the steps on the TGV.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Christine, Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the hotel, your guide and Carcassonne. We do appreciate your feedback regarding the itinerary and luggage transfer. We are in the process of adding a luggage service to all of our tours, so this is available if you want it, to make your journey smoother. However, I will make sure to pass your comments across to our Product team so we can look into these further for the future. Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

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David Morgan

1 stars

Submitted 15/May

Group arrived late at the Five Star Hotel and had no evening meal! A number of the group are diabetics and this could have proved a serious issue. Tour Manager never asked about this problem. Room was fine but food was poor for a luxury hotel. The pool was lovely but I was stranded for 30 minutes because the exit steps were too deep and I had not the strength to get out. The visit to Lastors was a disaster with six of the group, who had walking issues, left in the shop for two hours whilst the rest of the group walked up to the castle. The film that had been promised for us was never shown and no apology offered. The two restaurants we visited, other than the hotel, were excellent and the local guides were also well informed.

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Europe Holidays 2024

Europe Holidays 2024

Rich history, diverse cultures, and stunning scenery await in Europe. Whether you want to reach new heights in the Swiss Alps, indulge in the culinary delights of Italy, or wander castles and vineyards in France, discover Europe’s best destinations.

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