During this day trip you will get to visit the two most famous locations of the « Cathar country» : the medieval city of Carcassonne and Montsegur, which is dominated by the ruins of its castle.
> departure from Toulouse
> visit of Carcassonne
> free time in Carcassonne
> visit of Montsegur castle
> drive back to Toulouse
> 290 km (180 miles) in total.
Circuit beginning and end
> starts from Toulouse
> ends in Toulouse
> if you book a private tour, we can drop you in Carcassonne (we visit Montsegut in the morning in this case), Barcelona or Collioure for instance (please contact us for prices).
Access difficulties to Montsegur
> access to Montsegur is quite difficult, it implies a 20 to 30 minute hike uphill. One must be sufficiently prepared.
> comfortable shoes are required (walking or sport shoes).
Highlights of the trip
> the medieval city of Carcassonne is the largest fortress in Europe today. By following the tour you will be travelling through time !
> during the tourist season (from April to October), many shops will welcome you along the medieval streets of Carcassonne.
> Montsegur is an emblematic site of the region, a place where the Cathars lived during the 13th century.
What to do after the trip?
> we offer other day trips which include the visit of Carcassonne, such as Albi and Carcassonne, or Carcassonne and a meal on a wine estate.
> if you are interested in the story of the Cathars you may want to book one of our day trips to the castles of Peyrepertuse and Quéribus.
– 8.45 : pick up in Toulouse at your hotel
– drive to Carcassonne
– 10.00 : guided tour of the walled city of Carcassonne
– 11.00 : free time to discover the city by yourself and to have lunch
– 13.30 : stop at the view point over Carcassonne
– 13.45 : drive to Montsegur
– 15.05 : hike up to the castle of Montsegur and visit
– 16.30 : drive back to Toulouse
– 17.45 : drop-off in Toulouse at your hotel.
> January 1st
> December 25th
> the Count’s castle (Chateau comtal) of Carcassonne : closed on January 1st, May 1st, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th. The medieval city stays open all year round, only the Count’s castle is closed on the dates detailed above.
> Montsegur castle: closed in January, and in case of snow.
> 100 km/62 miles from Toulouse to Carcassonne
> 75 km/46 miles from Carcassonne to Montsegur
> 115 km/71 miles from Montsegur to Toulouse
> 290 km/180 miles in total.
From November to February
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver : 156 € per person
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver-guide : 196 € per person
From March to October
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver : 195 € per person
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver-guide : 245 € per person
What is a shared tour ? you agree to share the tour with other passengers (a maximum of 7 people). The tour can run with 2 people minimum. If only one person wants a tour, he/she will be required to pay double, so as to ensure the tour costs.
From November to February
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver : 344 € (that means 49 € / pers. if you are a group of 7 people)
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver-guide : 432 €
From March to October
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver : 430 € (that means 62 € / pers. if you are a group of 7 people)
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver-guide : 540 €
What is a private tour ? the vehicle is booked for you and your party only (7 people maximum). No-one else can join us.
Are included in our price :
> transport in an 8 seater minivan (petrol, tolls, parking costs) with driver or driver-guide (at your request), speaking French, English and Spanish.
> commentaries by the driver or driver-guide during the trip
> guided tour of the walled city of Carcassonne and Montsegur castle (according to programme) if you chose the driver-guide option
> the driver / driver-guide’s meal
> bottles of water in the vehicle.
Are not included in our price :
> your meal (you’ll be free for lunch in Carcassonne)
> entrance fees
> personal costs.
> Carcassonne, Count’s Castle : about 9 € per person (if you want to visit it during the free time)
> Montsegur castle : about 5 € per person.
> A 35% deposit must be paid on booking (by Visa or MasterCard), or 100% of the price if you book less than 30 days prior to the departure.
> the remaining 65% must be paid 30 days prior to the departure (by Visa or MasterCard).
> if you cancel the tour over 30 days prior to the scheduled departure you will get a full refund (no penalty).
> if you cancel less than 30 days prior to the scheduled departure you do not get a refund (you pay the tour as planned).
Please note that the refund is done to the credit card with which payment was originally made (or via PayPal if your card has expired).
Shared tour : if one person only is booked in for the tour
> in the eventuality of you being the only person booked in for a tour, 30 days or more prior to the scheduled departure: you can get a full refund if you chose to cancel. If you chose to maintain the trip you will have to purchase an extra ticket.
> if you have already paid for two people in order to maintain the tour, but that someone else joins the tour, you will get a full refund for the extra ticket you have paid for.
> please note : if you can’t pay 2 tickets to secure the trip, we are free to cancel your trip if we receive a firm booking for another trip. Of course, we’ll refund you the ticket already paid.
Carcassonne is a town of 45 000, which is divided into the « lower city », where most of the population lives, and the Medieval city, where only 80 people live.
The most interesting part is undoubtedly the medieval city. Entirely restored during the 19th century, it is today the largest medieval fortress in Europe.
Defensive walls, towers, murder holes, crenelation, barbicans, fortified doors, moat : welcome to the Middle-Ages ! Carcassonne is a unique place where childhood dreams come to life!
If you chose to visit Carcassonne with our driver-guide, you will first discover the Narbonnaise gate, main entrance into the city. The tour takes you for a walk between the two defensive walls, before discovering the medieval streets leading to the Count’s Castle, former residence of the great Trencavel dinasty, who ruled the city until the 13th century. Finally the tour will take you to Saint-Nazaire church, where a fantastic collection of Medieval stained glass windows awaits you.
The city of Carcassonne has been enlisted as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO since 1997. The increase in visitor traffic was followed by the opening of many souvenir shops and restaurants. Most shops open around 10 AM, everyday of the week, including Sundays and Bank Holidays.
The tourist season starts for the Easter Holidays (April) and ends in early November.
If you come to Carcassonne between November and April please note that most shops and restaurant may be closed.
The site of Montsegur is truly impressive : the castle appears to be inaccessible when seen from the bottom of the hill (which is locally referred to as the “pog”). But you will finally get to it after a 20 to 30 minute hike uphill.
The view from the top is breathtaking: on one side the mountains, on the other the valley.
The fame of Montsegur stems back to the massacre of 200 Cathar men and women which took place there in 1244. The castle you see now dates back to the 13th century, therefore it is not a cathar castle.
Abandoned since the 17th century it is now in ruins. During the tour you will get access to the castle grounds and to its former dungeon.
On top of the mountain you will also get to see the ruins of the original village, which are older than the castle itself: the foundations of some of the houses have been made visible, giving us an indication as to the original layout of the village during the cathar period.
The walk back down takes 15 to 20 minutes.