• Carcassonne

Carcassonne

Medieval Carcassonne is a 13th-century world of towers, turrets, and cobblestones. Europe's ultimate walled fortress city, it's also stuffed with tourists. At 10:00, salespeople stand at the doors of their main-street shops, a gauntlet of tacky temptations poised and ready for their daily ration of customers — consider yourself warned. But early, late, or off-season, a quieter Carcassonne is an evocative playground for any medievalist. Avoid the midday mobs: Spend the night here, and let this fairy-tale town make you a kid on a rampart.