For anyone staying in or around Carcassonne there are many places of interest besides the city itself. Just under 60 kilometres away is the Abbaye de Fontfroide, which dates from 1093. Visitors can take a tour and visit their wine tasting cellar. There is a bar and restaurant on site and trails wind through vineyards and up to a viewpoint for a bird’s eye view of the abbey site.
Although outside of the region, driving to the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain definitely deserves a full day. Located about 170km (1 hour 40) from Carcassonne it is a must for art lovers. In addition, the drive south is one of the more scenic routes in Europe, with the Mediterranean coast on one side of the A9 as it climbs into the rocky Pyrenees.
Wine tasting was one of our main reasons for visiting this region and outside of the main holiday season we managed to find a couple of chateaux willing to accommodate us for some impromptu ‘degustations’. If you’re short of time and don’t fancy driving door to door you may be best advised to call ahead and book.
Finally, our day trip to Montpellier was a true highlight. France’s eighth largest city is packed full of open air cafes and restaurants and its winding streets and plazas which make for fun exploration. It is also a great place to pick up souvenirs or if you prefer, to be self-indulgent as there are some great wine, cheese alongside numerous fancy clothes and shoe shops.