Carcassonne, France,  Hiking and Biking, Carcassonne Southern France
Carcassonne, a medieval walled city  on a hilltop near the canal du Midi in Southern France is a 12 Century site which has over fifty towers and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Canal du Midi is a 17th Century link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea that provides tour barges and tree-lined walkways on both sides for biking and hiking.
Carcassonne  Photos by Willy Scholliers
Carcassonne, A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Carcassonne in the Languedoc region of south France between Toulouse and Narbonne is a great visit . The old walled city of Carcassonne, a Gothic and Medieval city is comprised of two miles of walls. Perched high on a hill and capped by 56 towers. The fort gives you a view of the Pyrenees Mountains and the border with Spain.
History

The walled City on a hill and the town below spans the River Aude.
The lower town is a 13th century settlement designed in a grid-like pattern surrounded by walls.    
The first settlement in the area dates to the Gauls of the 9th to the 6th century BC.  The region was later inhabited by the Romans around the 1st century BC.
Most of what is visible today is a nineteenth century restoration ( 1853) by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.
Most of the walls and towers are original, however, as can be seen by archival paintings done before the restoration. Without this work the walls would have been destroyed by the French Government..


Archaeological evidence reveals settlements in Carcassonne as early as 3,500 BC.  Evidence of trade and commerce by Celtic people during the 6th century BC exists. 
. The Romans built fortifications on the hill in 100 BC, some of which is still evident in the base of the later walls.

The Visigoth King Theodoric took control of Carcassonne in 453 as Roman power waned and the Roman Empire came to an end.    
The Visigoths enlarged the city and held the fortified town until the Saracens captured the fort and held it until 759, when the Frankish king Pepin the Younger defeated them.
The fort eventually passed to French and Spanish kings and counts and by the early 1200s was an important bastion for the crusades, becoming a French citadel by 1247.
Political treaties reduced the forts military importance and in the early 1700s the fort was abandoned. But for the efforts of architect Viollet-le-Duc and others, the buildings, under order by the French government for demolition, would have been destroyed. Although the restorers were criticised for their 1850s restoration, the use of non-traditional cone shaped towers, their work is considered crucial to the saving of this splendid example of Gothic and Medieval architecture.

Modern Carcassonne is now a city in southern France located astride the Aude River and the Canal du Midi and currently the capital of the Aude Department.  The settlement is divided by the river into the Ville Basse and the medieval walled city called the Cité.  
The commerce of Carcassonne is centered in the Ville Basse, the town below the fort known for its clothing factories and as a center for the region's wine, grain, and fruit production, and for its tourist activities.
Building of historic interest in the Ville Basse are the 13th century Cathedral of St. Michael and the Church of St. Vincent.
In the fortified town across the river known as the Cité, of interest are  ramparts and towers that date to the Visigoths of the 5th century and building phases that span the 11th and 13th century. Also of historic interest within the Cité, the 12th-century castle and the Romanesque and Gothic Church of St. Nazaire, built in the 11th and 14th century.    
Various sources including Wikipedia
Barges make tours of the canal
Carcassonne in the Languedoc region of south France between Toulouse and Narbonne is a great place to visit for hiking, biking, canal barge trips and sightseeing in the historic city.
Carcassonne  France offers Hiking and Biking in Southern France along the Canal du Midi.  
The Canal du Midi was a 17th Century link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.  The canal provides tour barges and tree-lined walkways on both sides for biking and hiking.
Carcassonne offers Hiking and Biking in Southern France along the Canal du Midi
Carcassonne  Hiking and Biking along the Canal du Midi in Southern France
Carcassonne, Hiking and Biking, Carcassonne Southern France
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Provence, France
In France and Italy you can rent a car and do not need to show an International Permit, only your drivers license    Italian law, however,  requires that.....  See Article
Carcassonne Vacation Hiking, Biking  Southern France
Carcassonne, in the Aude Department of Languedoc-Roussillon of Southern France, can be reached by TGV train from Paris through Narbonne. by high speed road, and by air.
Hiking, France
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