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There are guided tours of the château which also take in sections of the walls and the amphitheater. Again set in the Carcassonne citadel, Pope Urban V (born near Mende in the north of Languedoc) visited here in 1096 and ordered the construction of the basilica.
They are all concentrated in the grid-system of streets leading off from the Place Carnot (home to the weekly food market, and in winter, the site of the temporary ice rink) and can be whizzed round in an hour or so if you’re pushed for time.
Its medieval core, the cité, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997.
Although both the Romans and Visigoths were here, Carcassonne really flourished under the well-to-do Trencavel family of the late 12th century.
In fact, Carcassonne can feel like a little bit of a come-down - it’s rather sleepy and small, with a nice square in the middle and a few nice shops and restaurants.
But don’t expect it to captivate you for more than a few hours.