7 family experiences in Carcassonne

castle fortress of Carcassonne in the south of France

Looking for an unforgettable family experience during your stay in Carcassonne? Here are 7 great things to do with the kids.

What a wonderful destination Carcassonne is for a family experience! This pretty town in the Aude region is undoubtedly one of Occitanie’s most popular tourist destinations. Its famous fortified town, which takes us right back to the Middle Ages, is right up there on the podium of France’s most visited historic monuments. And there’s no shortage of historic monuments in France. Romantic, historic and still very much alive, Carcassonne appeals to all profiles and all ages.

Families in particular flock here every year. The only problem is: what activities can you do once you’ve seen the famous ramparts? Rest assured, dear parents, there are plenty of fun things to do with toddlers around Carcassonne: outdoor adventures, play parks, unusual visits, fun workshops, family hikes, spending time with animals… and all this less than 30km from the city. Just follow the guide!

The Limousis cave and the giant Cabrespine chasm

For an adventure in the depths of the earth
experience a vivre en famille Carcassonne balcon de verre gouffre de Cabrespine

Photo credit: Grand Carcassonne Tourisme

  • 💵 Budget: The Limousis cave costs €11 for adults and between €7 and €9.20 for 5-17 year-olds. The Gouffre de Cabrespine costs €15 for adults, and between €8.60 and €12.60 for 5-17 year-olds. Free for children under 5.
  • 👦 F rom: open to all ages for classic tours and from 12 years for the Cabresprine cave-hugger.
  • 🚶 Distance: Limousis is 20km from Carcassonne and Cabrespine is 28km.
  • 💙 We love : playing adventurer in the cave

Among the must-see family experiences around Carcassonne are the Limousis cave and the Cabrespine chasm. The former invites us to take a leap back into prehistory, as it was once inhabited by cave bears who left clearly visible claw marks on the walls. The highlight of the show? A suspension bridge over an underground lake leading to a splendid 4m-high chandelier of Aragonite crystals . A great place to take in the sights, whether you’re big or small. More info

As for the giant chasm at Cabrespine, it’s so deep that the Eiffel Tower could fit inside. And if you’re looking for a thrill, head for the glass footbridge: 200m of emptiness lie beneath your feet! Do your children have a taste for adventure? If so, they’ll love theAccro-Grotte (from age 12). On the program: zip lines, monkey bridges, Nepalese bridges and wall climbing. All 200 meters underground. More info

The ramparts of Carcassonne

Back to the days of knights

Video credit: Grand Carcassonne Tourisme

  • 💵 Budget: Free admission to the château for children under 18. The fun tour with Violette costs €13 for adults and €8 for children. The son & lumière show is €15. Free for children under 7 in both cases.
  • 📍 Location: In the heart of Carcassonne
  • 👦 F rom: from 6 years old for the fun tour
  • 💙 We love: exploring the medieval city in complete freedom

We can’t possibly talk about a family experience in the Aude without mentioning a visit to Carcassonne! After all, the medieval city looks like the setting for a children’s book. With its ramparts and towering towers, there’s plenty for our little ones to dream about. For starters, you can visit the Cathar fortress free of charge and wander around freely. In fact, a game booklet designed for 8-10 year-olds (for just €2) is available. You can pick it up directly at the Château Comtal reception desk. More info

But you can also opt for a slightly more playful visit. Take Violette, for example. Who is Violette? This wacky inspector of historical monuments takes us on a journey back in time to discover all the subtleties of the Cité’s defense system. It’s a 100% family-friendly experience, and an original way to take in the city’s history. Good to know: the epok tours team also offers fun tours. The best part? They’re dressed as knights!

Alternatively, there’s another way to explore the walled city: at night. From July 15 to September 15, 2023, special events will illuminate the walls of the ramparts. First, there’s the self-guided nocturnal tour. This allows visitors to discover the fortifications at night, from the Narbonnaise gate to the main courtyard of the château comtal. And then there’s the sound and light show, specially designed for the occasion! Keep your eyes and ears wide open !

Puichéric nautical base

Fun outdoors
experience en famille à Carcassonne canoe kayak

Photo credit: Grand Carcassonne Tourisme

  • 💵 Budget: €14 to €35 per person for canoe rental, €19 to €26 for paddle rental. 42€ per person for rock climbing and from 31€ to 35€ for archery.
  • 🚶 Distance: 25km from Carcassonne
  • 👦 F rom : 6 years for canoeing, 12 years for paddling and 8 years for archery and climbing.
  • 💙 We love: family hikes in the beautiful Aude countryside

Join us at the Puichéric nautical center, on the banks of the River Aude, for a little outdoor adventure. A little-known but very rich area, it’s ideal for a host of fun and sporting adventures in the company of recognized guides. And it’s just the thing, because the Eaurizon team offers a host of activities.

It’s a great place to spend time on the water. How about renting a canoe or paddle for a family outing on the Aude? For each of these options, there are several circuits of varying length and difficulty. Perfect for all tastes and levels. Or there’s always the archery option to test your skills. Or are you more up for a little climbing?

Easy hikes

A breath of fresh air for the whole family
experience en famille carcassonne randonnées faciles avec les enfants

Photo credit: Grand Carcassonne Tourisme

  • 💵 Budget: free
  • 🚶 Distance: less than 30km from Carcassonne
  • 👦 F rom: accessible to all ages
  • 💙 We love: art and history trails

Fancy a family outing? The Office de Tourisme du Grand Carcassonne has compiled no less than 7 easy walks for you and your children to enjoy. All are between 3km and 7km. Do you have a stroller? If so, we highly recommend the circuit des deux vallées in Pomas, as it’s the only one that’s paved.

It’s worth noting that some trails feature little extras that make all the difference. The Mayronnes trail, for example, is embellished with sculptures in metal, stone, clay and wood, ideal for daydreaming. Others, like the Villarzel-Cabardès walk, take us back in time. These include the Visigothic necropolis of « Moural des Morts » and the pre-Romanesque chapel of « Notre Dame de la Lauze », built in the 10th century. More info

Zoos & mini-farms

For animal lovers
experience famille carcassonne kangourous parc australien

Photo credit: Grand Carcassonne Tourisme

  • 💵 Budget: the Australian park is €8.50 for children aged 3 to 11 and €11.50 for children aged 12 and over (same for adults). Count €5 for the minifarm.
  • 🚶 Distance: the Australian park is 8km from Carcassonne and the miniferme is 20km away.
  • 👦 F rom: the park and minifarm are accessible to all ages
  • 💙 We love: cuddling the little goats in the Australian park and feeding the chickens in the miniferme.

Do your children love animals? Surprising as it may seem, there’s an Australian park right next to the medieval city of Carcassonne. Here, you can admire Australia’s astonishing fauna (cuckoo kangaroos), but also enjoy a free guided tour and freely accessible play areas, such as the gold diggers’ zone or the aboriginal area.

Alternatively, you can say hello to the animals at the Paradou mini-farm. Playful goats, gentle rabbits, curious hens, quiet turtles… there’s a whole menagerie here. The advantage here is that children can spend time with the residents and feed the animals themselves (except the turtles). Please note that visits are by appointment only, and 48 hours’ notice is required.

Finally, for horse lovers, there’s a whole host of horse-riding opportunities in the Carcassonne area. In fact, you can just as easily ride a pony or a donkey. The choice is yours. It’s also an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by visiting the pretty little villages of the Aude, such as Villesèquelande and its magnificent multi-centenary elm tree. More info

Cavayère lake

Tobogganing and tree climbing
experience a vivre en famille carcassonne lac de la cavayere

Photo credit: Grand Carcassonne Tourisme

  • 💵 Budget: €12 per hour (+€5 with Water-Jump option) for Aquaviva. Between €10 and €20 per person, depending on the height of the outstretched arms and the age of the participants, for O² Aventure.
  • 🚶 Distance: to 9km
  • 👦 F rom : Aquaviva is accessible from age 5.
  • 💙 We like: boing boing on the slides and balancing in the trees

If you’re looking for fun and fresh air, we recommend a visit to Parc de la Cavayère. A favorite with travelers, this natural leisure complex covers over 40 hectares and is located just 10km from Carcassonne. The park features a water park called AquaViva and an accrobranche (tree-climbing) park that are sure to delight families. More info

Open from June to August, Aquaviva features XXL floating inflatables with life jackets supplied. Toboggans, catapults, trampolines, sliding mats, a 5-metre-high climbing iceberg, obstacle courses… you name it. The park also features a  » Water-Jump« . What’s that? A huge slide with 10 sliding tracks and 2 jumping platforms (8m and 5m). Enough to give you a thrill! Good to know: the park is supervised by qualified lifeguards.

Prefer to have fun on dry land? No problem: the O² Aventure climbing park is waiting to welcome you. Unlike Aquaviva, it’s open all year round. You can choose between two main courses: the acrobatic forest course or the « explor game » course (which is new). The former is subdivided into several courses for different ages and sizes. As for the second, it’s quite simply an interactive experience focusing on the history of Carcassonne.

Workshops & events

Playful learning
expérience famille carcassonne atelier fabrication de papier moulin du papier

Photo credit: Grand Carcassonne Tourisme

  • 💵 Budget: a visit to the Paper Mill costs €10.50 for adults and children over 12, €6 for children aged 5-12 (free for under 5s). The Maison de la Truffe costs €7.50 for adults and €4.50 for children aged 7-15 (free for children under 7).
  • 🚶 Distance: le Moulin à papier at 25km from Carcassonne and Maison de la Truffe at 17km
  • 👦 F rom : 6 years for trail games
  • 💙 We like: making your own paper and playing the treasure hunt.

In the « great family experience near Carcassonne » category, there are also fun workshops based on know-how. Like those offered by the Moulin à Papier de Brousse, for example. Specializing in paper manufacture (logical with a name like that), the Moulin offers young and old alike the chance to get their hands dirty and leave with 2 sheets of paper made on the spot after a press run. It’s a fun way to learn, and costs €3.

Have you heard of the black truffle, the deliciously fragrant mushroom that is one of the wonders of Occitan gastronomy? Whatever the answer, the Maison de la Truffe d’Occitanie is the place to expand your knowledge. And if you’re worried that children might get bored in a place like this, don’t worry: there are activities designed especially for them. In particular, a treasure hunt. Isn’t that nice?

Finally, the Tourist Office is also offering free treasure hunts to help children discover the villages of Caunes-Minervois, Trèbes and Montolieu in a fun way. They can be collected from the corresponding Tourist Office or downloaded online. Practical. Note that they are designed to entertain children aged 6 to 12, and can be completed independently. More info

So, are you ready for a memorable family experience around Carcassonne?