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“Disappointing tourist trap in amazing medieval building”

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Skip the Line: Carcassonne Castle and Ramparts...
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Carcassonne Sightseeing Tour
Ranked #2 of 73 things to do in Carcassonne
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Owner description: Carcassonne was settled as early as the 6th century BC and later became an important Roman town. It was fortified in the 4th century and was a strategic site in the Middle Ages. It took on its definitive shape in the 13th century with the king’s decision to construct the distinctive double-walled ramparts and extend the castle. The city was restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century and is a testimony to 1,000 years of military architecture and 2,600 years of history. See a 12-minute film combining 3-D images and close-up footage; walk along the galleries, the fortified walls and the north ramparts; discover the museum of masonry and many other attractions. Designated world heritage site by UNESCO. Open:> April to September: from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.> October to March: from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admission 45 minutes before closing time. Closed:> 1st January, 1st May, 1st November, 11th November and 25th December. Admission fees: Adults : 8,50 €; Concessions (18 to 25) = 5,50 €; Free admission: minors under 18*; Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France) * excluding school groups
Reviewed April 17, 2014

This is the third time we've visited the Languedoc Roussillion region. Each time we've wanted to see the Carcassone Citadel but never found the time ... Until now. And I can't help feeling that our three hour round trip was a day wasted. Yes, the building itself is spectacular and there are wonderful views from the ramparts of the lower town centre, surrounding Corbiere vineyards and the snow capped Pyrennes. Yes, the outside of the Cite brings to mind medieval knights and archers and, dare I say, every Robin Hood movie ever made. But then you enter the city gates and it really is "Tat central"! How many ways can you fleece tourists? In Carcassone the possibilities are endless. We've previously visited other Unesco sites in the region. St Guilhelm Le Desert is delightful. The Cathar village of Minerve is hugely atmospheric. And the Cirque de Navecelles is jaw-droppingly awesome. But Carcassone left us cold. If you only have a short time in the region, there are infinitely more genuine, authentic places to visit. But if you do find yourself in Carcassone for a visit, bring a picnic (as we did) just to avoid feeding the tourism beast.

3  Thank DeisegirlWestLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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672 - 676 of 4,551 reviews

Reviewed April 16, 2014

The fortress and castle are interesting to see and the history is really interesting, including learning about the architect who restored it, Violet Le Duc. However, we were a little disappointed about the tour of the castle, they invest a bit more in it for such an amazing building and site. Most of the restaurants are tourist traps but we managed to find one with ok food.

2  Thank Belgiantraveller772
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2014

We did not take the audio tour, but felt ourselves sufficiently informed from the film and our Guide Michelin. Learned much about Violet Le Duc, who also restored Nortre Dame in Paris, and the process by which he interpreted the chateau remains with the technology then available to hi. Will be interested to see what modifications may be made in future due to current scientific research.

2  Thank RittSq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2014

Loved the walk around this city plenty to see if you enjoy medieval culture.You can go on guided tour for small fee.

1  Thank johnA53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2014

I was worried the castle might be a bit corny, but it's amazing. The walled city is touristy, but it's pretty quiet in winter. A walk around the ramparts is highly recommended - gives you a great sense of how big the city and castle are, the different eras in which the structures were built/restored; and what a terrific position for a fortress. No wonder it's still standing.

The 19th century restoration was an incredible feat - there's lots of info inside the castle about the research that went into it and how it was accomplished. The gift shop has some good books about it and the film showing in the castle is well worth a look.

2  Thank Lisa J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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