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Carcassonne

Carcassonne
When you're traveling through Languedoc, this is a "must-see" for kids. "Carcassonne is every child's dream of a walled city," says a friend.
Carcassonne began as a Roman city (Carcaso), more defenses were added by the Visigoths, and the citadel was really beefed up in the 10th-13th centuries. The city was the target of two major sieges in the 13th century, but withstood the attacks. As a result of the 1209 rebellion, the dreaded Simon de Montfort became the Viscount of Carcassonne. In the 19th century, the fortress was restored and turrets added.
    The "Cité"– Today, the Cité is the largest of it's kind – a double-walled stronghold, with numerous towers and ramparts, enclosing a medieval town, chateau and cathedral.
    The main entrance through the Narbonne Gate (Port Narbonnaise) is dramatic – two big guard towers with slits, where archers stood ready to release their arrows. Walk around the narrow streets of the medieval town. The 12th century Chateau Comtal is a fortified castle, with it's own moat, bridge, gatehouse and walls. Don't miss the Saint-Nazaire cathedral, a Romanesque and Gothic style church with lovely stained glass windows. From the Aude Gate or Saint-Nazaire Tower, you can run around in the wide grassy areas between the crenellated walls.
      Museums – Get a feeling for medieval life in the Museum of the Middle Ages, with costumes, weapons and models of Carcassonne over the centuries. Visit the School Museum (3 Rue du Plô) to see a classroom, or stop into the Museum of the Hat to see what the well dressed woman or man wore in the Middle Ages (buy hats as souvenirs too).
    At the Jardin du Prado, take a ride on the old-fashioned merry-go-round. Definitely fun for little ones.
    Tour the inner walls in a horse drawn carriage (get carriages at the Narbonne Gate).
    Below the fortress, cross over the Old Bridge, linking the Cité with the town or follow paths along the River Aude.
    At Pech Mary Hill, catch "Eagles of the City" (Les Aigles de la Cite), a 45 min. demonstration of medieval falconry.
    In town (Ville Basse), walk the tow paths along the Canal du Midi and watch the locks in operation.
    Outside of town, at Cavayere Lake (Lac de la Cavayere) there's swimming and pedal boats.
family hotels carcassonne

There's lots of fun things to do in and around Carassone, but you'll need a fun place to stay. Here's our hand-picked list of family hotels for Carcassonne:

Carcassonne family hotels
kids books carcassonne
     
 
The Hawk of the Castle
Danna Smith, Bagram Ibatoulline

A falconer trains a hawk to hunt, preparing the hawk with bells, once outdoors, he releases the bird, and watches the hawk soar in the air, hunting for food. Perfect to read before seeing medieval falconry demonstration at Pech Mary Hill. Gorgeous illustrations of this ancient sport. (Picture book)

 

     
Life in a Castle
Kay Eastwood

Find out what it was like to live in a castle – in war or peace, castles were busy, filled with hundreds of nobles, knights and servants, some guests were kept in the dungeon, feasts were held in the great hall (it was not polite to pick your teeth with a knife while at the table). (Picture book)

 

 
Life in a Castle
     
Medieval Life  
Medieval Life (Eyewitness Books)
Andrew Langley

See what life was like in Carcassonne during the Middle Ages. A visual guide to medieval life, with photographs of clothing, beds, tables and chairs, food, weapons, musical instruments, and models of an abbey, a church, a market stall. Good for all ages. (Picture book)

 

(More children's books on other France pages)
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