History and legends of Carcassonne

The city of Carcassonne is a must-see destination for lovers of medieval history and architecture. But did you know that this city is also full of fascinating anecdotes and facts ?

For example, did you know that the city was saved from destruction thanks to the passion of one man, the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc ? Or do you know the legend of Dame Carcas, who would have protected the city by making it seem impregnable ? We tell you everything...

1. History of the City of Carcassonne

The interesting anecdote is that of the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who restored the city of Carcassonne in the 19th century. At the time, the city was in ruins, and the local authorities were even considering demolishing it to rebuild it anew. But Viollet-le-Duc, passionate about medieval architecture, persuaded the authorities to restore it rather than destroy it.

He spent more than 20 years restoring the city, using painstaking research and medieval building techniques. Today, the city of Carcassonne is one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe, and this is largely thanks to the work of Viollet-le-Duc.

2. Legend of Dame Carcas

In the time of Charlemagne, the fortress was under the control of Dame Carcas, but it was besieged and the population was starving, with only a pig and a ration of wheat left. The clever princess had the ingenious idea of stuffing the pig with all the remaining wheat ration and sending it to the foot of the ramparts.

With her ruse, she deceives the emperor who thinks that the population's food was still abundant. Morally defeated, he lifted the siege. To signal peace, Dame Carcas rings the town bells, which would have given rise to the legend of "Carcas rings".

3. History of the Canal du Midi

Originally, the Canal du Midi, built by Pierre Paul Riquet, was used for the transport of goods, but with the advent of the railways, the canal became obsolete for commercial transport. In the 1970s a movement formed to preserve the canal and make it a recreational route for cyclists and hikers.

This is how the greenway was created, which extends over nearly 240 kilometers along the Canal du Midi. This greenway is now a popular destination for nature lovers, cyclists and hikers, who can explore the natural beauty of the canal and discover its rich historical and cultural heritage.

4. History on the Bastide

In the 13th century, the city of Carcassonne (Medieval City) was booming and many merchants came to trade there. However, the narrow streets of the medieval town were no longer sufficient to accommodate all the merchants and their wares.

This is how the King of France, Louis IX, decided to build a bastide (a new town) outside the city walls. He also ordered the construction of a bridge to connect the bastide to the medieval town, named the "Pont Vieux".

5. The city a film set

And finally, did you know that the city of Carcassonne has also served as the setting for many films and television series ?

Among the most famous are Le Corniaud (1965), Robin des Bois(1991), Les Visiteurs (1993),  La Fille de d'Artagnan  (1994), Le Pacte des loups (2001).

These anecdotes testify to the rich and turbulent history of Carcassonne, and invite visitors to discover this city in a different way, by taking the time to stroll and listen to the stories it has to tell.