The most obvious trip to take after you’ve been round Carcassonne at least twice is a boat ride on the Canal Du Midi.
Its another UNESCO site, constructed three hundred and fifty years ago by Pierre-Paul Riquet. It runs from Toulouse to Sete on the Mediterranean coast. You can hire your own boat or just go on a quick trip with a commentary for the tourists (ours was in French so a lot of it passed me by). You travel through locks, aqueducts, bridges, and tunnels past miles of plane trees lining the banks. Its very pretty but honestly unless you have a passion for canal boats the standard ninety minutes is enough.
There are several other short trips you can take from Carcassonne my favourites were –
The Castles of Lastours
Twelve kilometres from Carcassonne in the valley of Orbiel. Here there are four small medieval castles. They are on a rocky ridge opposite a specially built viewpoint. This is a really spectacular view, well worth the short journey from Carcassonne. It is possible to walk up to them but really it is the view from afar that is spectacular( I’m sticking to that story, the paths are very steep!)
Cabrespine – Giant Cave
Discovered in the 1970’s this is one of the largest caves open to the public, it’s 150 metres long by 300 metres high. There are some interesting rock formations inside and a glass balcony 250 metres high in the middle of the cave if you don’t mind heights, it’s a long way down.
Its surprisingly warm inside but wet and slippery underfoot. There are information points around the cave to tell you about the geological features. It really is quite interesting as there are formations here you don’t find in some of the well known caves of the world. So worth a short visit.