As you can imagine of a tourist town, Carcassonne has a lot of restaurants to offer you but how does a first-time visitor decide which to choose? Local knowledge is a wonderful thing and as I have lived in this region for over 10 years I thought I would draw up my short list of places to eat in La Cité de Carcassonne.
The first thing to understand is that Carcassonne is not one place it is made up of 3 distinct areas; Medieval La Cité, an ancient walled town that sits on a hill overlooking the Aude valley and below Bastide St Louis, the more ‘modern’ town. It was built in the time of Louis IV and is where the weekly market takes place and where you will find the hustle and bustle of a shops, cafes and restaurants. And finally, the little village that sits below La Cité and the place you pass through when making your way from one area to the other.
In this blog post I am going to concentrate on La Cité and one of my favourite places to eat inside the walls is Restaurant Le Marquiere. This family owned restaurant lead by chef Marius Bernard since 1985 offers simple and tasty regional cuisine served in an elegant dining room. On my last visit I enjoyed pan-fried beef Filet served with an escalope of foie gras and a delicious house sauce. The wine list is well chosen and includes some of the great names of Languedoc as well as some of the up and coming stars. I recommend you book in advance.
Restaurant Le Marquiere, 13 rue saint Jean, La Cité. Tel: +33 468 715 200
La Cité is small, about one square mile so nowhere is far to walk and just around the corner from my first choice is Restaurant Adelaide which although nearby offers a totally different atmosphere. The good value menu offers typical Languedocian fare such as homemade cassoulet, duck confit and homemade foie gras. The restaurant is excellently positioned just off the busy Place de Grand Puits and if you can get a table on the terrace you will have a great view of Chateau Comtal once the home of Lord Trencavel who lost his life during the siege of Carcassonne during the Cathar crusade. In fact, the restaurant is named after his wife who was the daughter of the Count of Toulouse which made me wonder if the famous Australian city was named after her???
Restaurant Adelaide, rue Adelaide de Toulouse, La Cité. Tel: +33 468 47 66 61
Close to the Saint-Nazaire church and the amphitheatre where Carcassonne holds its outdoor concerts is a lovely place to eat called Auberge des Lices. La Cité is encircled by double walls and the land in between is known as the Lices hence the name of this restaurant. It’s a very pretty auberge tucked away in a small street and offers local cuisine including some dishes with truffles. They also have a vegetarian choice which is a rare find in this part of France. The restaurant is open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday but in July and August they open every day.
Auberge des Lices, 3 Rue Raymond Roger Trencavel, La Cité. Tel: +33 468 72 34 07
Located in the heart of La Cité is Restaurant Comte Roger, a stylish eatery with a top class chef and interesting menu. They have a good reputation for a fine cassoulet, but they also produce many other delicious dishes which are also a feast for the eyes and made from local and seasonal products. Everything is beautifully presented and Chef Pierre Mesa also creates many interesting desserts such as homemade violet puff crackers with violet sorbet. I have always been very well looked after in this restaurant by a very attentive team and have eaten inside and on their shaded terrace. I recommend you book in advance.
Restaurant Comte Roger, 14 Rue Saint-Louis, La Cité. Tel: +33 468 11 93 40
Mélanie and Jérémy are the very welcoming owners of La Table d’Alais in the heart of La cité which they took over a few years ago. First impressions when you arrive is that the restaurant looks quite small and its hard to imagine how cosy the dining room and terrace are. The well-made food will take you to the land of fabulous flavours plus they have a vegetarian choice too. It’s a good value so be sure to treat yourself !
La Table d’Alais, 32 Rue du Plo, La cité. Tel: +33 468 71 60 63
Leaving L’Escargot to last doesn’t mean it’s not as good as the others. In fact, it is one of my absolute favourites and I’ve eaten here many times and have always enjoyed it. It’s the perfect spot for a glass of wine and a great selection of regional choices produced by the young and dynamic owner, Thomas. His menus start from just €16,50 so excellent value but if you just want to sip wine and have a snack you can buy homemade tapas to enjoy in the wonderful La Cité atmosphere.
L’escargot, 7 Rue Viollet le Duc, La Cité. +33 468 47 12 55