Chateaux de Lastours sunset picnic visit

I just had a spectacular hike to the Chateaux de Lastours last night where we had a picnic and watched the sunset. One of my buddies at ESC Dijon’s wine commerce program stayed at the B&B this week with his girlfriend. And Gabriella Opaz came up from Barcelona too. Everybody asked me how they could spend their last night in town so I suggested a picnic in the Chateaux de Lastours.

Lastours is a tiny village north of Carcassonne and it used to be the headquarters for the Lords of Cabaret, the guys who give their name to the Cabardes. Lastours was the center of their feifdom and all the surrounding lands were farmed in the name of these lords. They built these fortifications on the high ground above Lastours and the ruins still stand today. And they’re open to the public. So if you want to see a castle that isn’t crawling with tourists, check out Lastours after hours. We walked up and were the only people there. We sat down and had a lovely picnic with some sandwiches and O’Vineyards wine. If you do this, don’t litter! You have to be very tidy or else you’ll ruin this historic site.

Lastours is about 25 minutes north of Carcassonne so you’ll need a car, but it’s totally worth it if you like nature, breathtaking views, and castle ruins. There are lots of stairs too and it’s sadly not accessible to wheelchairs.

Additionally, we went at sunset but you have to be very careful and bring flashlights if you do this. The path down is rather treacherous in the dark and there aren’t always handrails so be safe.

This post is about charming Bed & Breakfast rooms available in Carcassonne.

Obviously, I’d love for you to come and stay with me at O’Vineyards B&B, but we’re not very close to the castle.  So if you like slurping red wine and you’re going to have a car, you can come sleep at our place. Otherwise, here are some excellent options that are walking distance to the medieval Cité de Carcassonne.

B&B Walking Distance from the Castle

room in 42 victor hugoDowntown

42 Victor Hugo – 142€ – 160€
42 Rue Victor Hugo
11000 Carcassonne
33 (0)9 77 52 44 36

This is a really unique building in the Bastide St-Louis (the historic downtown).  The interior is a very contemporary design and the exterior is a rather ornate historic facade.  The location is perfect for short walking trips into the town for restaurants, cafes, local markets, concerts and everything else that locals do.  It’s a tiny bit removed from the more touristic sites of the citadel (a good thing in many ways), but it’s still walking distance from the ramparts.

On the Canal

Péniche Mirage –  106€ – 520€
28 rue du Canal
Ecluse d’Herminis
33 (0)6 16 46 28 67

Stay on a barge on the Canal du Midi.  This has been fully outfitted as a charming B&B / houseboat.  The owners are onboard to take care of you.  There’s also a jacuzzi on top of the boat.  Prices range a lot depending on how much luxury you want on the peniche.   Children have to know how to swim if you want to stay on the boat.

In the castle

L’echappee Belle – 75€-125€
5 Rue Raymond Roger Trencavel
La Cite 11000 Carcassonne
33 (0)4 68 25 33 40

This B&B is notable because it’s actually in the medieval citadel.  A lot of people don’t realize just how big the castle is.  Hundreds of people live within those ramparts.  There’s a school, dozens of restaurants and shops, 2 hotels, a hostel, and a B&B.

terrasse cote citeAt the foot of the ramparts

Côté Cité – 77€ – 147€
81, Street Trivalle
33 (0)6 89 35 61 51

A B&B at the foot of the castle, just outside the remparts.

Other accomodations

For a full list of accomodations, check out Trip Advisor’s Carcassonne Hotel page.  Whether or not you trust the reviews, it’s a pretty complete list of lodging options in and around Carcassonne.

This is an index of an ongoing series of posts about what people can do in and around Carcassonne.  Millions of people visit the medieval citadel (the Cité de Carcassonne) each year, but what should they do after  walking those gorgeous castle ramparts?

I obviously recommend visiting my winery at O’Vineyards.  We offer a full tour of the winery, and our unique history (we’re first generation winemakers) means that we can talk to you like normal human beings about the sometimes scary or pretentious subjects of winemaking and wine tasting.

But I also want to offer a full list of possible activities because there’s a lot to do in and around Carcassonne other than visiting me!

Things to do around Carcassonne

  • Walking distance from Cité de Carcassonne
  • Drink good wine
  • Eat good food
  • Visit castle ruins and historic sites
  • Cave spelunking
  • Walk, Hike, or Cycle
  • Ville-Basse

Walking Distance from Cité

This is a list of activities I’ve written about that are walking distance from the medieval castle of Carcassonne.  This may overlap significantly with the other categories on this page, but it was a very popular question so I have to talk about it separately.

  • Vineyards right outside the castle
  • Restaurants in the castle
  • Eating around the castle
  • Perfect picnic spots near Carcassonne
  • River Aude walk
  • Canal walk
  • Religious sites
  • Antique furniture restoration workshop
  • Art galleries

Wine & Vineyards near Carcassonne

Carcassonne is beautiful wine country and you don’t have to know a lot about wine to appreciate the rich flavors of the local producers.  The greater Carcassonne area touches five major wine classifications:

If you don’t want to do a whole tour, many wineries offer simple tastings of their wines.  Some wineries near Carcassonne are set up to receive people year-round.  For smaller wineries, it’s often a good idea to call ahead of time and book your visit to assure the winemaker will be available.  If you just want to walk through some vines, there are vineyards directly outside Carcassonne castle.

The rest of this is a work in progress.  If you find this article unfinished and you’d like more information, feel free to email me at

Eating around Carcassonne

I plan on writing a bit about different dishes and meals that are typical to the south and southwest of France.  I’ll also include some addresses of favorite restaurants.

resting in the castle ruins above lastours before sunsetCastle Ruins & Historic Sites

I plan on writing a bit about all the castles and ruins other than Carcassonne like the Chateaux de Lastours.

I had a great picnic watching the sunset at the Chateaux de Lastours.

There are many other ruins scattered around Carcassonne.

And some places aren’t even ruined yet:

  • Quéribus
  • Peyrepertuse
  • Puilaurens
  • Castelnou
  • Oppidum


Cave spelunking

I’ll write about the various cave visits like the Gouffre Geant de Cabrespine and the Grotte de Limousis.

Carcassonne for walkers, hikers, & cyclists

I’ll start listing ideas for walkers, hikers & cyclists.

Ville Basse

Things to do in the downtown area of Carcassonne known as the Ville Basse.  Things like local markets, the Place Carnot, the Canal, and the river.


Danny McCubbin and his photography assistant Anthony just came through the south of France.  We were very happy that they could stop for three days in Carcassonne and taste the wonderful food and wine of the region.  They participated in all our vineyard tours and workshops (i.e. they toured the winery, ate a 5 course lunch at the winemaker’s table, and shot some video of the recipes my mom teaches in her cooking workshop).

food laid out on table at o'vineyards

via Danny’s twitpic account

Danny’s Holiday

Danny is the editor for and has been working with Jamie for almost a decade now. He was as nice as you’d expect for a member of the Jamie Oliver team.  It’s always a pleasure to share the region’s food and wine with folks visiting Carcassonne and it’s especially fun when the visitors are totally unpretentious food lovers like Danny and Anthony.

Danny standing on the castle ramparts of CarcassonneThey also visited the medieval cité de Carcassonne and stayed in the historic Hotel de la Cité.  Jerome Ryon, a local chef at La Barbacane, sat down with them to talk about cooking and food and how it’s about working with good ingredients and keeping things simple and accessible.  Jerome insists this is true even at his professional level of cuisine (La Barbacane is a Michelin starred kitchen).

It was Easter weekend so we got to see a few of the neat things going on around Carcassonne.  Easter egg hunts and chocolate making workshops.  And it’s asparagus season.  🙂

And we organized a tasting on Easter where we enjoyed wines from all over the department of Aude.  Some of Ben Darnault’s wines from Minervois, St. Chinian and Picpoul.  Some Minervois from Hegarty Chamans as well.  A whole lot of fun!

You Can Visit Too

And you don’t have to be a journalist to get these tours.  If you want to visit us and have fun with wine and food, you only have to email me.  Costs vary depending on what you want to do, so check out the tours and workshops we offer visitors and let me know what you want to do.


One of our best customers is La Barbacane, the Michelin-starred restaurant in l’Hotel de la Cité in Carcassonne.  I was delighted to hear that they’ll also be serving one of our wines in Le Jardin de l’Evêque, the outdoor garden area across from the hotel.

And on top of this great news, they commissioned a painted wine barrel for the special waiting area they’re installing where patrons can enjoy an apperitif and some olives before being seated in the garden.

painted barrel o'vineyards

For those of you who don’t know, I like to paint. I’m more into engravings and prints, but I enjoy picking up a brush from time to time.  So it was a pleasure to do some simple castle landscapes on one of my old barrels.

Now, I think the Jardin asked a few other winemakers for barrels.  I’ll let you know once they’ve all been installed so we can see who made the prettiest barrel. 🙂

jardin de l'eveque carcassonne

Hey everybody!! My Flip UltraHD came in the mail. I’m really excited. This camera is gorgeous.

I celebrated by traveling to Carcassonne and shooting everything I could including this pensive pigeon.

I will do a lot of random picture posts to share the vineyard and the region with you.  Hopefully they won’t all be Nouveau art-films about pigeons considering barred windows.

The back of the castle

The back of the castle

Could he be any Frencher?

Could he be any Frencher?

Gargoyles and crucifix

Gargoyles and crucifix

How to find us

Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387

Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
Wine & Food Pairing

North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910

  1. Best by GPS.
    Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
  2. Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
  3. Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
  4. At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
  5. After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.