Located in France's Occitanie region, the fortified city of Carcassonne is famous for its medieval ramparts and centuries-old buildings. Most tourists either drive to Carcassonne or take the train, and the local airport also offers flights to and from several European cities.
If you plan on renting a car, driving to Carcassonne is a great option and allows you the freedom to see more of southern France. Cars are not allowed inside the Medieval City and there are several parking lots outside, including one partly reserved for hotel guests staying inside the ramparts.
Ryanair operates flights to and from the Carcassonne Airport (CCF) from several European cities, including Brussels, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Porto. The airport is located less than 2 miles from the city and offers both shuttle buses and taxi options to make the short trip.
Duration: 5 to 7.5 hours
If you're traveling from Paris to Carcassonne, which is 385 miles (620 km) away, you can either hop on a train or drive south. Trains leave from both Paris' Gare de Lyon and Montparnasse train stations and require a short layover in either Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier or Narbonne.
If you decide to drive, the fastest option is to go through Toulouse. Take the A10 highway to the A20, and then the A61 once you reach Toulouse. French highways have lots of rest areas if you're looking for a short break; if you want to get off the highway and explore a bit, the small town of Gramat (near the clifftop village of Rocamadour) is a good halfway point, with several restaurants and hotels to choose from.
Duration: 3 to 3.5 hours
Whether you're driving from Marseille or decide to take a train, the trip between the two cities takes roughly the same amount of time, and both options are easy and convenient. Direct trains to Carcassonne leave from Marseille Saint Charles train station several times a day. If you're driving there are lots of great cities to see along the way, including Aix-en-Provence, Arles, and Montpellier, to name just a few options.
Duration: 1 hour
Toulouse is a little over 50 miles (85 km) away from Carcassonne. Several regional trains leave from Toulouse Matabiau train station daily; if you prefer to drive, follow the A61 highway.