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Carcassonne and Cathar Castles of France

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4.2 stars(24 reviews)
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A beautiful and captivating region of France

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222021
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

Days 1-2 - 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

4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 24 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (9)
  2. 4 stars
    (11)
  3. 3 stars
    (4)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Mr H Knowles

4 stars

Submitted 12 Jul 2019

The tour manager was very good particularly when we encounted major problems at the Gare du Nord on the return journey. The trip down the Canal du Midi was boring but all the other organised trips were good. The hotel at Carcassonne was of a good standard

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr L Mead

5 stars

Submitted 14 Oct 2018

Excellent itinerary, fantastic hotel, first rate tour manager and great weather!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr G MB Brady

3 stars

Submitted 06 Oct 2018

Hotel good, visit to market waste of time but more importantly party size - 40- far too large!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs P Barrett

5 stars

Submitted 30 Sep 2018

I had an excellent experience.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Dr P Kerry

4 stars

Submitted 21 Sep 2018

It was an excellent holiday that fell just short of 5 stars. The Canal du Midi return trip (about 2 hours altogether) was pleasant but a little underwhelming, involving a cruise along the canal including some of the suburbs of Carcassonne (i.e. perhaps not the most scenic one might have hoped for). Also the trip to the vineyard for a tasting and dinner (also on the last day) was not memorable (neither were the wines), although our local host and his team were very good. The meals included on the trip (apart from the superb breakfasts) were also not too special but the 'self catering' meals of local produce were wonderful as was our hotel in the old city of Carcassonne and the city itself!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs M Williams

3 stars

Submitted 10 Jun 2018

the hotel was super but the restaurant you picked for the meals out was VERY poor school meals would have been better Too long in Toulouse as was difficult to find things to do on a wet day NOT one of your better trips The guide was very good Pamela

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Carcassonne and Cathar Castles of France

A beautiful and captivating region of France

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