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Fortified Medieval Villages of Southern France

Step Back into the Middle Ages in Carcassonne, St. Paul or Eze

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Carcassonne

Carcassonne's old city is entirely enclosed in a medieval fortress.

Office de Tourisme de Carcassonne

Revisit the Middle Ages with a trip to one of Southern France's medieval villages, filled with castles, moats, spires and more. The remains of medieval hilltop villages still stand today throughout this area, and draw tourists from around the globe.

Carcassonne is probably the most visited medieval village in France. Nestled in the lush Languedoc region in the southwest of France, the entire old village of Carcassonne is a castle. Within the walls, cafes feature knight costumes holding the daily specials. Vendors sell tapestries with scenes from the Middle Ages. Shops offer the typical touristy fare, but with a distinctly medieval flare.

When you visit, be sure to try a local native dish, cassoullet. This rich stew is filled with beans, meats (usually duck or lamp and andouille sausage). Also taste blanquette, a sparkling wine from nearby Limoux.

Further east along the Mediterranean sits St. Paul de Vence (not to be confused with Vence). With sweeping vistas of both the mountains and the sea, St. Paul is a sight to behold. The city is filled with art galleries, and the cobblestones are formed into shapes like flowers. It is also conveniently located just a few minutes from Nice and Cannes.

Don't miss some of the fine restaurants (where you can fine right inside the ramparts). Wander the street's shops and sit near ancient fountains.

Between Nice and Monte Carlo is Eze, another medieval fortress/village with vistas of the Mediterranean. This village is particularly well-suited for day-trips and is even close to the Italian border and Monaco.

Buy perfumes made by local artisans, or attend medieval festivals. Nibble on Provencal specialties while gazing on the view at Les Ramparts restaurant.

Turn back the clock and transport yourself to the Middle Ages by visiting one of France's fortified castle villages.

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