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Holidays in Carcassonne 2024 - vacation villa rentals in South France

carcassonne3

 

If you are looking for a good base for a holiday in the South of France during the summer of 2024, Carcassonne is ideal. Not only do you have the wonderful Carcassonne castle on your doorstep, but you are also in striking distance of the Mediterranean beaches, Cathar ruins, beautiful countryside and mountains. 

The town of Carcassonne has a population of around 48,000 people and together with Narbonne, it is the largest town in the Aude department. Carcassonne has a long history. There are archaeological remains dating back to before the Roman times and it was certainly an important Roman garrison town. The area around Carcassonne was an important centre of the Cathars (a religious movement similar to the Quakers) during the 1200's, until this movement was brutally repressed by a Crusade sponsored by the Pope and the King of France.

Carcassonne has everything you need as a base for a holiday in South France - great transport links, good shops, excellent restaurants and of course some excellent local vineyards. In the centre of Carcassonne you will find some lovely boutiques and shops, as well as plenty of pavement cafes and restaurants. On the outskirts of Carcassonne there are a number of shopping centres with large supermarkets, clothing stores and furniture shops.

Carcassonne has excellent transport links. The A61 motorway runs right past the town and connects Narbonne in the east with Toulouse and Bordeaux in the west. itself has its own airport - serviced mainly by low-cost flights from the UK and Scandinavia. 

There is a train station in the centre of Carcassonne, where you can pick up train services to both Narbonne and Toulouse. There are connecting TGV trains to Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille and Barcelona.

Carcassonne has an international airport with many low cost Ryanair flights to Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Manchester and London.

The wines from the Minervois and Corbieres vineyards are definitely worth seeking out and the Blanquette de Limoux sparkling wines are an excellent (and inexpensive) substitute for Champagne. The wines are made using the same techniques as Champagne (and there are even some local rumours that the monk, Dom Perignon, may have 'borrowed' the wine making techniques from the Abbey in Limoux!)

 

Holidays in Carcassonne in 2024

gruissan plage franceBages, Aude department, France

 

The picturesque town of Carcassonne is the administrative capital of the Aude department in Southern France. It lies in between the Mediterranean coast to the east, the city of Toulouse to the west and the Pyrenees Mountains to the south. The landscape around Carcassonne is quite varied.

 

East of Carcassonne - wine region and Mediterranean coast

gruissan plage southern franceLa Franqui plage Southern France

 

On the Eastern side of Carcassonne the Canal du Midi flows through the Minervois wine region towards the town of Narbonne and the beaches of the Mediterranean. Here you will find some beautiful beaches, especially at Gruissan Plage (the setting for the film Betty Blue), Narbonne Plage and Le Franqui. You can also visit the beautiful coastal villages such as Gruissan, just inland from the Mediterranean sea and Bages and Peyriac-sur-Mer overlooking the Etang de Bages-Sigean. The countryside is mainly flat and dominated by vineyards. But, you will also find some interesting towns and villages to visit, the quaint market town of Olonzac, the villages of Homps and Le Somail on the banks of the Canal du Midi and the picturesque village of Lagrasse in the Corbieres hills.

 

North of Carcassonne - the Black Mountains

minerve village france2Minerve - Cathar village, Southern France

 

The Black Mountains are situated above Carcassonne and here you will find some lovely rural villages like Villardonnel, Cuxac-Cabardes and Siran. But probably the pick of the villages north of Carcassonne is Caunes-Minervois. This is a small medieval town of 1500 people. There is a local Abbey that dates back to the 8th Century and many Roman artefacts have been discovered locally. Caunes-Minervois is today a haven for artists and the town holds many popular festivals such as Le Festival de Musiques at the end of August each year and the Parcours des Arts a summer programme of workshops, exhibitions and open houses.

To the north-east of Carcassonne, you will find the old Cathar village of Minerve, which is officially classified as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, of which there are currently 160 such villages in France. Dating back to the 10th Century, this former Cathar stronghold, is perched on the edge of a lovely gorge. The beauty of Minerve today, however, hides its turbulent past. This region of Languedoc was fertile ground for the spread of the Cathar religion in the 12th Century. Concerned by the rapid growth of the Cathar movement, Pope Innocent III, declared the Cathars to be heretics and non-believers and convinced King Philip II of France to launch a Crusade against the Cathars in the South of France. When the crusading troops arrived in the Languedoc in 1209, the Cathars stood defiant in Minerve and endured a long and ultimately bloody siege at the hands of Simon de Montfort. 

In addition to the Cathar history in Minerve, the village was also was a base for the Knights Templers and one of the houses on rue des Martyrs belonged to the Templers and there is also a stone archway near the bottom of the street which features the Maltese Cross belonging to the Order of Templers.

 

 

West of Carcassonne - Cassoulet country and the Canal du Midi

canal du midi aude

 

On the Western side of Carcassonne, in the direction of Toulouse, the vineyards give way to more arable crops, including acres of sunflower fields. Here you will find some nice rural market towns like RevelBram and Castelnaudary (home of the famous Cassoulet). This famous Southern French stew is made from white beans pork sausage and duck. It really is delicious, especially when washed down with a beefy Minervois red wine, but be warned, you will largely be rendered immobile for 2 or 3 hours after a good helping.

The Canal du Midi snakes its way across the South of France from Toulouse, through Carcassonne and on to Beziers and the Mediterranean coast. The Canal was the brainchild of Paul Riquet, a tax collector from Beziers. He persuaded King Louis XIV to endorse a bold project to build a canal network to link the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.

The Canal was the largest and most complex civil engineering project since the time of the Romans. The Canal du Midi is 240km long and has 99 locks, over 100 bridges and two long tunnel sections. The Canal du Midi gradually falls from 132m above sea level at the River Garonne in Toulouse to reach the Mediterranean sea at Sete. The Canal Company that Riquet set up, was the first employer in France (and probably in Europe) to provide his workers with paid holidays and sick pay, to provide schooling for the children of employees and to employ both Men and Women side by side on the project.

 

 

South of Carcassonne - Cathar Country

peyrepertuse castleChâteau de Peyrepertuse castle

 

The area south of Carcassonne slowly rises up to meet the Pyrenees. Here you will find some local market towns like LimouxQuillan and the gorgeous town of Mirepoix. But the main attractions here are the Cathar monuments and ruins that you can visit, such as the castles at Quéribus and  Château de PeyrepertuseChâteaux de Lastours and Château de Montségur.

The Cathars were an amazing religious group. They followed a simple life and they didn't have priests or build churches. They educated both boys and girls and they regarded men and women as equals, allowing women to own property as much as men. Through their faith, they also denounced the wealth and teachings of the Catholic Church as an institution of evil and it was for this that they were persecuted and totally wiped out across Southern France.

The one fascinating fact I find about the Cathars, were that they were the first Vegans/Pescatarians. They did not believe in eating cheese, eggs, meat, or milk because they claimed that these were all by-products of sexual intercourse by animals.

Read our article on the Cathars in Languedoc to get more information about this inspiring and ultimately, doomed religious group.

Also if you are a Da Vinci Code fan or if you have read the novels of Kate Mosse (her trilogy of historical novels Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel, are all set around Carcassonne) - then you should definitely search out Rennes-le-Chateau. This hilltop village and small castle is actually quite unremarkable, but it does receive thousands of visitors each year. It all stems from an incident in the 1870's and 1880's when the local parish priest funded some extravagant repairs to the local church and tower. In today's money, these repairs cost €4.5 million euros and debate has raged about how this lowly priest was able to fund the work. Several rumours swirled around, including how the priest - allegedly - discovered some buried treasure at the church. Speculation has since expanded to include claims that it was buried Knights Templar treasure and even the Holy Grail.

 

 

Carcassonne Castle - largest walled fortress in Europe

carcassonne sites france

 

Carcassonne's wonderful castle is one of the best sites in Languedoc. It is only when you arrive that you can get a true feel for the enormous scale of Carcassonne castle. The Castle is the largest walled fortress in Europe and it is also France's second most visited historical monument.

During the middle ages, the Languedoc noble family of the Trencavels, first established the castle at Carcassonne. The town was taken by Simon de Montfort in 1209 during his crusade against the Cathars. In 1299 it came under control of King Louis IX, who later laid out the plans for the building of the town underneath the Citadel.

The town ambled through the next few hundred years in relative prosperity and its markets were famous throughout France. The castle itself fell into some disrepair and the stones became quarried for building houses in the town. It was not until the mid 19th Century when the Castle was restored to its former glory. The prominent French architect, Viollet-le-Duc, began a 50-year restoration project to rebuild the Catsle. When I say 'restored to its former glory' this is a contentious point. It turns out there were very few drawings or historical records of Carcassonne Castle from which Viollet-le-Duc could work from. So he let his imagination run riot and created a much gander building than originally stood on this site.

 

carcassonne cite

 

But don't let that put you off. The Castle or Cite as it is referred to locally, is one of the most striking images in France and the French are immensely proud of it (even if it only just squeaked through in its application for UNESCO World Heritage site status).

The preserved and rebuilt town inside Carcassonne castle provides an insight into what medieval life was like, even if it has been somewhat spoilt by tacky souvenir shops. But if you can look beyond the plastic suits of armour and tea towels you will be in for a real treat. Carcassonne is a magical place. There can not be a more impressive castle in Europe and it is worthy of a trip from all visitors to Languedoc.

 

Go Languedoc's Carcassonne vacation villa rentals:

On Go Languedoc we have a number of excellent villas and vacation rentals in and around Carcassonne to rent. With the local airport in Carcassonne and the excellent road network, it is easy to reach Carcassonne and the surrounding towns. Even in the height of summer the roads are rarely full and you can reach the Mediterranean beaches in under 45 mins, as well as explore Toulouse and the Pyrenees.

Here is a selection of some of the most popular Carcassonne vacation villa rentals that are currently advertised on Go Languedoc:

 

 

1. Maison du Bijou - holiday home with private pool in South France (Ref: 1734)

Carcassonne vacation South France 2024

 

This beautiful stone farmhouse is the perfect place for a relaxing family holiday in Southern France. The house provides total peace and quiet, a lovely swimming pool and plenty of space both inside and out. This spacious holiday home in Southern France comes with 4 bedrooms and can comfortable accommodate 8 people. It has its own private pool, walled garden and private parking. 

The holiday home is decorated in a traditional French boutique style, with original artwork adorning the walls. Located in the idyllic village of Gimois it offers a spectacular location for exploring the region and sampling the fabulous wines and French cuisine. Maison du Bijou is located in the heart of the Minervois wine region, which consistently provides the best wines in South France. You can buy excellent local wines direct from the vineyards in the neighbouring villages.

The house is also well-located for exploring the local sites including Carcassonne castle, the Canal du Midi and the ancient Cathar village of Minerve.

 

Check prices & availability

 

 

 

 

2. Le Marandou - 5 bed farmhouse with private pool near Carcassonne South France (Ref: 2062)

pet-friendly holiday homes in France

 

Le Marandou is a 5 bedroom farmhouse for rent close to the popular town of Carcassonne in South France. The farmhouse comes with a private swimming pool, large grounds, games room, 5 bathrooms, 2 living rooms and plenty of parking. You can walk out from the garden onto some beautiful country walks.

Le Marandou is easily accessible via the airport in Carcassonne and is a good base for exploring the famous castle in Carcassonne (the second most visited historical monument in France) and regional sites such as the ancient towns of MirepoixMinerve and the Cathar castles. The Mediterranean beaches are 50 mins drive.

This secluded farmhouse is located just outside the village of Labastide d'Anjou in the Occitanie region of the South of France. The farmhouse is perfectly laid-out for a large family or a group of friends holidaying in the South of France. The holiday home also benefits from:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Large covered terrace
  • easy access (200m) to fields and vineyards for morning/evening walks
  • Pets accepted through prior arrangement 

 

This large holiday home is available for weekly rentals from May through to October at a high season price of €3,550. The prices include linen, towels and end of stay cleaning.

 

Holiday home details

 

 

 

 

3. Le Moulin 5 bed country house with pool for holiday rentals in Southern France (Ref: 2149)

Villa Alarelle South France 2023If you are looking for a large rural property to rent for a family holiday in Southern France, then Le Moulin provides very comfortable accommodation. Le Moulin is a charming country house in Southern France with a heated private pool, located in between Toulouse and Carcassonne. The house is situated on a small hill with 360° panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. This 5 bed house is available for holiday rentals between April to October from €3500 per week. Pets maybe accepted through prior agreement.

This former farmhouse previously had two working windmills, which have been lovingly restored. A former barn is now used as an outdoor lounge, with patio furniture, dining table and a ping pong table. It has a real homely feel about it.

Although the house provides total peace and quiet, you are not totally secluded, with a large village with a good range of shops and services just 5 mins drive and both Carcassonne and Toulouse accessible in under 1 hour.

 

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4. Gites for rent near Carcassonne, Southern France (Ref: 876)

Holidays South France 2024

 

If you are looking for a relaxing holiday in the South of France, then these gites to rent just north of Mirepoix are perfect to enjoy this beautiful part of Southern France. There are 3 properties to choose from at this location, each of which comes with 2 bedrooms.

The gites are within easy driving distance of Carcassonne airport and are located just 15 mins from the A61 motorway - which provides access to the Mediterranean beaches and to Toulouse.

These gites share a swimming pool and grounds, but each rental property has its own private terrace with lovely views over the open fields.  The gites are very well equipped and come with fully-fitted kitchens and spacious lounges. This is an ideal spot for a family holiday in the South of France. The gites are in a good location for exploring Carcassonne Castle, the Canal du Midi, the Cathar monuments and the Pyrenees.

 

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5. French country house with private pool to rent near Mirepoix South France (Ref: 2126)

cheap holidays France 2024

 

If you are looking for a large holiday rental with private pool in the South of France, then this property for rent near Mirepoix is an ideal choice. This renovated stone farmhouse dates back to the 1800's and is located in a quiet hamlet, 4kms from Mirepoix. The house is very spacious inside and comes with a well-equipped kitchen, large living room, 2 bathrooms, 4 good sized bedrooms, games room and a large private garden with pool. There is a very large garden and terrace where you will want to spend all your time. There is plenty of space for all the family.

The popular town of Mirepoix is located right in the centre of Southern France, just 1 hour from Toulouse and 50 mins to the Pyrenees. The town is famous for its picturesque medieval market square and Cathedral-size church. The weekly market in Mirepoix attracts people from miles around and is a great source of local French produce from the Ariège region. The local countryside is very picturesque and wherever you go, the Pyrenees always forms your backdrop. Carcassonne is just up the road and you will find many Cathar castles locally.

 

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6. Maison de la Roche gites in France with pool sleeps 4 (Ref: 1504)

Gites South France 2024

 

Maison de la Roche gites in France with pool are situated in the quaint wine making village of Ferrals-les-Corbieres, in between the mountains and the coast. The beautiful city of Carcassonne is just down the road.

There are 3 French gites for rent at Maison de la Roche. The gites come with a lovely heated swimming pool and plenty of shaded space to enjoy a good book or a glass of wine. The layout of the gites ensure that you have your privacy, but it is also possible to rent an adjoining gite if you are two families holidaying together.

These gites in France are the ideal place for a family holiday. The village features an excellent wine bar run by a former French Rugby international. The village also has a restaurant, shop and boulangerie. The local area is covered in vineyards and there are plenty of areas to explore, including Carcassonne Castle, the Cathar ruins dotted across the landscape and the beaches at Gruissan and Narbonne Plage. 

 

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7. Large 5 bed holiday rentals property, South France, private pool (Ref: 1676)

Fanjeaux farmhouse holidays France 2024

 

This lovely farmhouse for holiday rentals is ideal if you want to find accommodation to rent for a large family group in Southern France. The property can easily accommodate up to 14 people and is a great space for children and adults alike.

The farmhouse is located near the wonderful city of Carcassonne, with its famous castle; and provides easy access to both Carcassonne and Toulouse airports.

The farmhouse is also conveniently located to explore the wonderful market town of Mirepoix, as well as the Pyrenees, the Canal du Midi, Cathar castles and the Mediterranean beaches. 

This large holiday rentals property near Carcassonne, South France, comes with 5 bedrooms and is conveniently located in between Carcassonne and Mirepoix.

The Farmhouse is equipped to a high standard and is very bright and airy inside. The farmhouse comes with a private pool and stunning views. The Farmhouse provides total peace and quiet, yet is only a 2 minute drive to the medieval village of Fanjeaux, where you will find an excellent boulangerie/patisserie, cafe/tabac, restaurant and shop.

 

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8. French holiday homes, Aude, Languedoc with pool (Ref: 589)

cheap holidays France 2024

 

If you are looking for a relaxing holiday in South France, then these French holiday homes at Domaine de la Flotte are perfect.

Domaine de La Flotte, is a country estate situated on a wooded hillside where you can enjoy the unspoilt nature and the beautiful views of the Pyrenees mountains in the distance. Domaine de Flotte is located just south of the medieval town of Mirepoix and is close to the Lac de Montbel and the small town of Chalabre.

There are 4 holiday homes to rent at Domaine de la Flotte, each of which has been tastefully renovated to provide high quality holiday accommodation. Each holiday home has its own terrace, so your privacy is guaranteed. You can make use of the shared swimming pool, or you can follow magnificent walks or explore the surrounding hills on a mountain-bike. You can hire one of the horses and go for a ride in the hillside.

If you are looking for a relaxing and peaceful holiday in South France, then Domaine de la Flotte French holiday homes are the perfect choice. This really is an ideal spot to explore the rural countryside of Southern France.

 

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9. Félines-Minervois 2 bed holiday house for rent with private pool in South France (Ref: 2134)

Villa Alarelle South France 2024If you are looking for a quiet and relaxing base for a holiday in the South of France, then this stunning modern property in the hamlet close to Félines-Minervois is an ideal choice. The house is surrounded by some beautiful walks and you will never tire of the views from the terrace towards the Pyrenees mountains 80kms in the distance.

The holiday house was built in 2021, using the latest eco technology to keep the house cool during the summer and warm during the winter. The house comes with a newly-installed plunge pool, large terrace, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and plenty of parking.

The nearby village of Rieux-Minervois has a good range of shops, supermarkets and facilities. A weekly street market in Olonzac is only 15 mins by car. Carcassonne and Narbonne can each be reached in 40 mins drive and the Mediterranean coast is 50 mins. The Cathar village of Minerve and the Canal du Midi are both nearby and are ideal places for summer picnics.

 

Check prices & availability

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Belcaire Southern France holiday rental pool - Carcassonne (Ref: 877)

Holidays South France 2024

 

If you are looking for a relaxing holiday in South France, then these gites near Carcassonne in Southern France are perfect. The surrounding countryside offers you all the peace and quite that you could need. Nearby you will find beautiful towns and villages to visit like the medieval town of Mirepoix, the hilltop village of Fanjeaux, the market town of Revel and the ancient town of Foix.

You can also explore the local Cathar monuments at Chateau MontségurPeyrepertuse and Quéribus

There is a shared swimming pool where you can cool off and wind-down. The gites are located in between Carcassonne and Mirepoix and this is an ideal spot for a family holiday in the South of France.

There are 3 gites available to rent. Each gite sleeps up to 4 people in 2 bedrooms (1 double bedroom and 1 twin bedroom). The gites are very well equipped with fully-fitted kitchens, spacious lounges and a private terrace with lovely views over the open fields. 

 

Check prices & availability

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a great holiday deal to Carcassonne France in 2024 . . . ?

iain pink smallI am Tara Haacke and I manage all the holiday reservations on Go Languedoc. I live in the South of France all year around and I have worked in the vacation rentals sector in France for the last 9 years.

If you would like us to suggest some South France holiday villas or apartments to rent this summer in and around Carcassonne, then please contact us with your requirements. We are in touch with our property owners every day and we are the first to know of any discounted rates.

Just drop us a quick message and we will come straight back to you with a selection of properties offering the best late deals. 

Alternatively, see our full selection of Carcassonne villas to rent France during 2024

Contact Tara by Email or by phone +33 7 89 44 15 14

 

 

 

 


 

Where to next . . .?

If you are planning a trip to the South of France in 2024, then Carcassonne is an excellent location. Carcassonne has some excellent restaurants, including 2 Michelin star restaurants. You also shouldn't miss out on one of the biggest music festivals in the South of France (Carcassonne festival), some fantastic local vineyards and the beautiful countryside nearby. You can also visit the local Cathar monuments, including the old Cathar village of Minerve and the Cathar castles at such as the castles at QuéribusChâteau de PeyrepertuseChâteaux de Lastours and Château de Montségur. The Canal du Midi also snakes its way through Carcassonne on its route across the South of France from Toulouse to Beziers and the Mediterranean coast. From a tourism perspective, Carcassonne has plenty to see and do.

If you are planning a trip to Carcassonne or the Languedoc in 2024, then the following articles are a good source of local information:

 

carcassonne restaurants10 best Carcassonne restaurants in South France

The restaurant scene in Carcassonne is buzzing at the moment, with 2 Michelin star restaurants and many interesting new restaurants opening. Discover the 10 best restaurants in Carcassonne to eat at in 2024.

 

canal du midi franceCanal du Midi South France

The Canal du Midi is one of the Engineering marvels of the modern age. The tree-lined canal which flows across the South of France, perfectly reflects the slow pace of life in the Languedoc and Occitanie.

 

beziers feria2Carcassonne music festival South France

Carcassonne's music festival takes place during July and is one of the largest music and arts festivals in France, with over 200,000 spectators. Find out all the acts playing in 2024

 

beziers riverThings to do & see in Carcassonne

Discover everything that Carcassonne has to offer including its amazing Castle, its summer festival. its markets, great restaurants and nearby Cathar ruins to visit. 

 

beziers riverCarcassonne airport - cheap flights to South of France in 2024

Check out the latest schedule of cheap flights to Carcassonne airport in South France. We have compiled a handy guide of the 9 airports across Europe that fly to Carcassonne and which days they fly in 2024 

 

Cathars in LanguedocThe Cathars in Languedoc

Read all about the fascinating history of the Cathars and all the local monuments that have inspired writers such as Kate Mosse, Dan Brown and Lynna Banning.

 

Go Languedoc
Go Languedoc provides holiday villas and vacation apartment rentals across the South of France. Discover amazing deals on properties in Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence and Cote d'Azur. Working directly with the property owners helps us to cut out unnecessary fees and booking costs. We handle secure online credit card payments and you will always have somebody to talk to on the phone.

Contact Go Languedoc

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Tel: +33 (0)7 89 44 15 14

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