Its Gallo-Roman origins and 2,000 years of conquests have made this southern France town famous. Since 1997, Carcassonne has been world-famous for its two UNESCO world heritage sites: the Mediaeval City and the Canal du Midi which can be explored on foot, by bicycle or by boat.
Start your visit at Bastide Saint Louis (13th century), the lower part of the town on the banks of the Aude. Stroll along its chequered streets which are full of stunning town houses, monuments, museums and religious buildings. Stop off at Place Carnot in the shade of plane trees and in the centre admire the stunning Fontaine de Neptune, which dates back to the 18th century. Take a break to sample some local delicacies. Don't miss the fruit, vegetable and flower market which will give you the chance to soak up the typical southern French atmosphere.
Then head for the citadel via the fully pedestrianised 14th-century Pont Vieux, which crosses the Aude. Go through the Porte Narbonnaise or the Porte d'Aude and follow the narrow streets that lead into the heart of the citadel. The 3 kilometres of ramparts will give you various views over the valley, the Pyrenees and the Black Mountains.
Before leaving the Citadel, why not visit the Château Comtal and the lavish Basilica of Saint Nazarius? Or, if you prefer, be tempted by a picturesque trip on the Petit Train de Carcassonne or the Calèches de la Cité.
Don't leave without having sampled the flavours of the local cuisine on offer in the many restaurants, bistros and brasseries that can be found throughout the town.
Carcassonne has a programme of cultural events all year round: The Carcassonne Festival, Embrasement de la Cité (14 July), Féria, Magie de Noël.
Just 50 miles from Toulouse, Carcassonne has air and high-speed rail links. When booking your flight or train ticket with Expedia, you can also choose from a wide range of hotels. You'll also be able to take the time to discover Cathar castles, to sail along the Canal du Midi or follow the Camino de Santiago.