Executive summary by Darmansjah
Carcassonne is a fortified French town in the Aude department, of which it is the prefecture, in the Region of Languedoc-Rousillon.
Occupied since the Neolithic, Carcassonne is located in the Aude plain between two great axis of circulation linking the Atlantic to the Mediteranean sea and the Massif Central to the Pyrénées. Its strategical importance was quickly recognized by the Romans who occupied its hilltop until the demise of their western empire and was later taken over by the Visigoths in the fifth century who founded the city. Also thriving as a trading post due to its location, it saw many rulers who successively built up its fortifications up until its military significance was greatly reduced by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.
The city is famous for the Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval fortress restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853 and added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. Consequently, Carcassone greatly profits from tourism but also counts manufacture and wine-making as some of its other key economical sectors.
In the late 1990s Carcassonne airport started taking budget flights to and from European airports and by 2009 had regular flight connections with Porto, Bournemouth, Cork, Dublin, Frankfurt-Hahn, London-Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands, Glasgow-Prestwick and Charleroi.
The Gare de Carcassonne railway station offers direct connections to Toulouse, Narbonne, Perpignan, Paris, Marseille and several regional destinations. The A61 motorway connects Carcassonne with Toulouse and Narbonne.