The imposing fortifications of the citadel of Carcassonne occupy a rocky outcrop overlooking the course of the River Aude. At the foot of their walls stretches the lower town, a bastide founded in 1248 by Louis IX.
Carcassonne has been a settlement since the 6th century BC and was a Roman town, fortified during the later imperial period, before becoming a medieval citadel. It has examples of 1,000 years of military architecture and 2,600 years of history. A rich and varied tour is available and includes many areas not otherwise visited: ramparts, hoardings, projection room, lapidary museum. Guided tours, lectures or audio-guides available, subject to booking.