We booked at La Maison dans la Cité because we wanted to experience the atmosphere of the medieval city when other tourists had departed, allowing our imaginations to step back a few centuries...
First impressions were excellent: Igor, the resident host, wasn't at all put out by our request to check in quite early after our morning flight landed at Carcassonne (note to travellers - the little airport is a short hop by bus or taxi from both the town centre and la Cité, so you don't waste time/money on tedious transfers). He met us at the city gate in an electric golf buggy and trundled us along to the quiet backwater that is the rue St Jean, all the while telling us about the 100-plus years of restoration works and the fairly recent times when the old city was all but abandoned and the place was a lawless shanty town populated by vagabonds and voyous. Once at la Maison, Igor (still chatting away thirteen to the dozen in French and passable English) made us coffee while his mother finished making up our room. By 11am we were installed in 'La 5', a spacious top floor room accessed via a spiral stone staircase with a comfortable king size bed, tasteful modern furnishings, views across the pan-tiled rooftops, a well appointed bathroom with a deep bath and powerful shower over, and complete privacy - there is only one other bedroom on the top floor.
After giving us maps and a brief orientation on the old and "new" towns (the Bastide across the Pont Vieux only dates back to the 13th century), Igor made it clear we were welcome to come and go as we wished, and left us to explore.
When we returned at 6-ish to rest and freshen up before dinner, Igor invited us to share wine, olives, cheese and saucisson with him before we went out again. He's an excellent host, genuinely interested in his guests and passionately keen on making sure you experience the best the town and the region has to offer. He seems to know pretty well everyone locally and is extremely well informed about local food, wine and viticulture, having worked in local hotels before setting up la Maison a couple of years ago. At the end of three days, we felt a genuine rapport with him - something we've rarely experienced even when staying as b&b guests in people's homes.
Breakfast the next morning was a delight - a long table surrounded by hip white Italian chairs at the back of the cool modern open plan salon was laid with everything you could wish for in the way of continental breakfast: cereals, fruit, excellent fresh breads and croissants, artisan honey and preserves, well kept cheeses and charcuterie. Igor was on hand to serve juices, tea, coffee (au lait or otherwise), chocolat chaud etc. It was a leisurely and fortifying start to the day, and Igor was quite happy if guests breakfasted late - indeed, he seemed to prefer it that way as he enjoys his nightlife and doesn't mind a late start!
We had a superb stay, made all the more special by Igor's attentive but unintrusive hospitality and by the location. We felt very privileged to wander the quiet lanes and alleys at midnight when all the souvenir shops and tourist haunts were locked and shuttered.
The bill for three nights (and three excellent breakfasts!) came in at 285 euros (under £250); this was the mid-season May/June rate. Considering the location, the size of the rooms and quality of amenities, and all the value-added personal touches that Igor seemed happy to bring to the experience, we felt this to be outstanding value compared with local hotel accommodation.
Carcassonne is undoubtedly one of Europe's must-see destinations; if our experience is typical (and TA reviews suggest it is...) then a night or three at La Maison dans la Cité will make your stay even more memorable.
Only four en-suite rooms - two on the first floor, two on the top floor. Top floor has charming roof...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.