Carcassonne, France – Day 1

I recently returned from an 18 day trip to France and thought I’d post a few photos of some of the places I’d visited while there, the first being ‘Carcassonne’.

Carcassonne is in southern France’s Languedoc area and is a beautiful example of a fortified medieval town.

Okay, I’d better get a few details out of the way first, so here goes:

We flew out on Wednesday, 19th April with Ryanair from the UK’s East Midlands (EMA) airport to Frances’ Carcassonne (CCF) airport, and despite their bad reputation, everything went smoothly and we actually arrived ahead of schedule.

The flight takes approximately 2 hours, which meant we were in Carcassonne for 10:00am local time.

By the time we collected our luggage, cleared customs, got a taxi, and waited for the hotel car to pick us up from outside the ramparts, it was around 11:50 before we got to our hotel.   As we couldn’t check-in until 4 pm, we dropped our luggage at reception and went out exploring.

The basic cost of our flight, one way, was £44.86 for the two of us.   If you were just going for a night or two you’d not need to pay for checked luggage as you get 10 kg of hand luggage each included in the cost of your flight, we were going to be away for 18 nights so needed a suitcase each.   So on top of the £44.86, we had the cost of x2 checked luggage, x2 priority boarding and x2 fast track, making the final total for our flight, one way:  £103.86 for the two of us.  Obviously, it’s not necessary to have priority boarding or fast track but it certainly made the trip easier and less stressful.

My friend Amanda is in the photo above, she’s looking directly at the camera.  I’ve known Amanda for over 25 years and knew she was the perfect travelling companion for this sort of adventure.

The holiday quickly became known as the Thelma & Louise trip. You’ll be sad to learn there was no murdering, dramatic driving off cliffs or dalliances with Brad Pitt.

Amanda, thankfully, has a far better grasp of the French language than myself. My limited French is seriously poor, and this despite me doing an online course for a couple of months prior to us travelling. So money well-spent there haha.

Best Western Hôtel Le Donjon

Our hotel for the evening was the Best Western Hôtel Le Donjon, Carcassonne. It lies  within the old city walls and cost us €135 for a standard twin room for the night in mid-April 2017.

We stayed in the main building on the first floor, overlooking the pretty gardens at the back of the hotel. The room was comfortable and clean, with a wonderful view which added to the experience.

To get to the hotel we took a taxi from tiny Carcassonne airport, although it is possible to get a shuttle straight to the gates of the old town for around €5.

Our taxi driver, without being prompted, rang ahead to inform the hotel that we were on our way. The cost was about €18. He dropped us outside the city walls at a designated spot (only permitted vehicles are allowed within the city walls) where the hotel sent a car for us and took us directly to the hotel. The process went perfectly and I’d highly recommend this hotel as a base for a night or two.

The hotel does have a private carpark but we didn’t have need of it as we didn’t collect our hire car until the day we checked out.

On the morning of our departure from the Best Western, we asked the hotel reception if they could organise a taxi to take us to Enterprise car hire at the airport. The hotel’s guy picked us up and dropped us outside the ramparts of the old town at the same place we’d been dropped off by our original taxi driver. We didn’t have long to wait before the same taxi driver arrived.  We were at Enterprise car rental within 10-15 minutes.

Best Western Hôtel Le Donjon via;label=hotel-202248-fr

The car hire was probably the most expensive part of the trip, costing over €1000 for 17 days.  This was mainly due to us leaving the booking of it to the last minute.  It was compounded by the fact we wanted an automatic, that there was 2 of us going to be driving, taking out the maximum amount of insurance cover and needing to drop off the vehicle at a different location….Bergerac airport.

We were very happy with the car.  We were given a Toyota Auris Hybrid and couldn’t believe how economical it was.  We traveled over 2,500 km and only put about €120 worth of fuel in the car.

A big thanks to Amanda for letting me use some of her photos in this blog post.  Between us we got a few good shots.