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    Car hire in Carcassonne - The Best of Southern France

    Few places in the south of France are quite as historic and picturesque as Carcassonne, a well-preserved medieval fortified city located just 60 miles south-east of Toulouse. Nestling on top of an imposing hill, this enchanting UNESCO World Heritage-classified site is still entered the same way it has been for countless centuries, via an old drawbridge leading through to an original gated doorway, offering visitors the perfect photograph opportunity from outside its ancient walls.

    One of the prettiest places in the country, Carcassonne is a fairy-tale city dating back to well before the Middle Ages. Inside its walls lies a magical maze of narrow, cobbled streets lined by old buildings and dozens of magnificent museums and monuments. The centrepiece is the city's picture-book castle, an impressive building most notable for its pristine ramparts from which some of the best views of the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed, especially on a clear day.

    Carcassonne is located in the heart of the charming Languedoc region, a land of lush green landscapes, lovely little villages and fine, full-bodied wines. With a car hire in Carcassonne you'll be able to tour the entire area at leisure, stopping for lunch at a typically rustic restaurant before visiting some of the wineries for which this particular part of France is so famous. Popular day-trip options from Carcassonne include the seaside city of Montpellier (home to one of the world's oldest universities) and the Pyrenees mountain region south of the city.

    You can easily rent a cheap car in Carcassonne in a few easy steps through our booking engine or by speaking to one of our award-winning rental specialists on +441233225114, who will be only too pleased to help you with all your travel plans in the beautiful Languedoc region. For more information about visiting Carcassonne and elsewhere in France, please consult our France driving guide to find out more about the rules of the road. Furthermore, you might like to visit our Carcassonne car hire reviews page to see the ratings and comments posted by previous Auto Europe customers in the city.

    How is the traffic in Carcassonne?

    Traffic in Carcassonne can be quite busy in the summer but more relaxed at other times of the year. With the fortress attracting around 4 million visitors a year, including many with cars, it's worth noting that the majority of these visits will take place during the peak holiday season of late June through to early September. The roads in and around the city centre are properly maintained and very well signposted, so you'll have little trouble getting around with your low-cost car rental in Carcassonne if you avoid the morning and evening rush-hours.

    Where can I park my car hire in Carcassonne?

    Carcassonne is a well established destination and very tourist-friendly so you'll find that there are plenty of parking opportunities for tourists in the city centre. There are three municipal car parks located in the old quarter, the most important of which is on Chemin de Montlegun just 400 metres from Carcassonne's famous medieval quarter, near the Porte Narbonnaise entrance. Furthermore, there are three underground car parks in the city's historic Bastide St Louis area comprising around 1,000 spaces in close proximity to some of the city's top tourist attractions.

    Carcassonne Airport

    Located on the western edge of town, a short drive from the city centre, Carcassonne Airport handles a lot of the international air traffic coming into the Languedoc region of southern France. Since the late 1990s it has been served by a growing number of budget flights to and from many top European airports, and by 2006 it had established regular flight connections with Dublin, London Stansted, Liverpool and the East Midlands, with Rynair having more recently emerged as the chief UK carrier for the Carcassonne area.

    Carcassonne Airport (CCF)
    Telephone: +33 820 673411
    Address: Route de Montréal, 11000 Carcassonne, France

    What to do in Carcassonne

    Nestling on the river Aude, Carcassonne is one of the most visited cities in southern France on account of its striking location, impressive architecture and abundance of unique cultural attractions. Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your sightseeing itinerary of the city with your car rental in Carcassonne;

    • Carcassonne Castle: Built in the 12th century for the viscounts of Carcassonne, the city's imposing castle stands proud as the city's top tourist attraction. Visitors are free to walk along its centuries-old ramparts and stroll down the many narrow streets and alleways located within its ancient walls. Don't miss the Tower of the Inquisition (once a prison) and the great Romanesque watchtower accessible through adjacent buildings.

    • Torture Museum: Grisly but fascinating, the city's infamous Châteaux Cathares et Instruments de Tortures is filled with torture instruments from the Middle Ages. Located in an eerie 17th-century building, the collection includes a large array of punitive instruments ranging from the 12th century to the French Revolution, along with accounts of the various people who played a pivotal role in the Inquisition over the centuries.

    • Pont-Vieux Bridge: One of several bridges spanning the River Aude, Pont-Vieux is by far the loveliest of them all. Built in the 14th century, it still fulfils its original purpose of providing a quick link between the city's lower and upper towns. It remains one of the few original medieval bridges in the whole of France and is particularly notable for its robust construction and beautiful stone arches.

    • Basilique St-Nazaire: The city's most important church is this imressive basilica that dates from the 11th century. Notable for its magnificent stained-glass windows (including two exceptional rose windows), the church boasts many interesting features, including a lofty Romanesque nave, lovely Gothic choir and transept, 16th-century organ (one of the oldest in France) and the original tombstone of the famous knight and nobleman, Simon de Montfort.

    • Bastide Saint-Louis: No trip to Carcassonne is complete without a visit to Bastide Saint-Louis, an atmospheric warren of old streets and historic buildings that perfectly complements the city's equally famous medieval quarter. Centred around an old town square, the Place Carnot, Bastide Saint-Louis is a bustling social and residential area with an excellent market and many small shops selling handmade wares.

    Best day-trips with my car rental in Carcassonne

    Carcassonne is situated in the heart of the enchanting Languedoc region, an area dominated by vast vineyards and some of the loveliest little villages in southern France. So much awaits visitors who rent a car in Carcassonne and tour the city's surrounding countryside, such as the Regional Park of the Catalan Pyrenees and the many long sandy beaches lining the nearby Mediterranean shoreline.


    With its quaint red-roofed buildings and streets lined with palm trees, Perpignan is the quintessential Mediterranean town located just a few miles inland from the coast. Constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries, the exquisite Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste is a prime example of southern Gothic architecture with many fine features, such as a white marble high altar and an extremely rare sculpture of Christ produced in the early 14th century.


    Nestling in the foothills of the Cévennes Mountains, Nîmes is a very appealing town with dozens of first-rate attractions, most notably a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre built in 1 AD. Don't miss the Maison Carrée located on Place de la Comédie, a delightful Roman temple built during the reign of Augustus between 20 and 12 BC and still standing proud in the centre of town.


    Surrounded by salt marshes and wetlands, Aigues-Mortes is one of the best-preserved medieval fortifications in Europe. Rectangular in shape, its ramparts took more than thirty years to complete and visitors are invited to walk around its robust walls beginning at the famous Porte de la Gardette. Within its walls lies a labyrinth of old cobbled streets lined with small family-run shops and outdoor eateries offering the perfect solution for a relaxing lunch break before driving back to Carcassonne.


    Less than an hour's drive from Carcassonne lies Béziers, once a thriving Roman military outpost and today an attractive tourist town full of interesting things to see and do. Its top attractions include the Saint-Aphrodise Basilica (famous for its 3rd-century sarcophagus) and the fortified Saint-Nazaire et Saint-Celse Cathedral founded in the 12th century.

    Languedoc Vineyards

    Spread across 245,000 hectares of verdant countryside, the Languedoc vineyards constitute the country's oldest and largest wine region. When touring the area with your car hire in Carcassonne, much of your journey will pass beside the area's many well-tended wine estates, such as Domaine Ollier-Taillefer (famous for its reds) and Château St. Martin de la Garrigue where some of the best Picpoul de Pinet wines are produced.

    How to get around Carcassonne

    Carcassonne is located on the main route between the city of Toulouse to the north-west and the idyllica Meditarranean coast to the east. The Deux Mers Motorway offers excellent access to Toulouse and Montpellier from Carcassonne, while the local road (6113) serves the popular town of Narbonne close to the sea. The locals tend to use their cars to get around Carcassonne city centre so try to avoid driving in the morning and evening rush-hours if possible. Everything is close by, including Carcassonne train station (a few minutes by car) and the tourist office which is located in the city centre. The city has a limited public transport system consisting of about a dozen bus routes mostly covering the centre and some outlying areas, along with a free shuttle system called Toucs that serves the Bastide Saint-Louis district during the summer season. Opened in 1913, Carcassonne Train Station is well connected with various towns and cities in the south of France, as well as many major destinations in other parts of the country. You can also reach Carcassonne by TGV high-speed train from Dijon, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux. There is a shuttle bus service from Carcassonne Airport to both the centre of town and the city's train station, which mostly operates in conjunction with flight arrivals and departures.

    Useful links

    Carcassonne Tourist Info