About Carcassonne Airport (CCF)
Address: Apt De Carcassonne En Pays Cathare, Carcassonne, 11000
Carcassonne Airport (CCF) lies 3 km (1.8 mi) from the popular tourist destination of central Carcassonne, in southern France. Airport car rentals from Alamo, Avis, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt are located in the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall.
The charming medieval fortress town of Carcassonne is delightfully easy to navigate by car hire, thanks to its rather anti-French grid layout of streets in the city center, and a ring road system that branches out into surrounding areas. Sure, downtown is full of narrow, one-way streets, but outlying routes are generally simple straight lines with a refreshing lack of roundabouts.
The city of Carcassonne can be roughly divided into two sections: the aforementioned city center — known as villa basse (lower city), and the Cité de Carcassonne, a picturesque medieval fortress on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Be advised that the streets of the walled city are closed to private vehicles in summer, but otherwise open in off-seasons. However, the streets within the walls are exceptionally narrow, even by French standards of passage. There are plenty of parking lots just outside the city’s main entrance.
Like so many French towns, Carcassonne is situated among a river system, the River Aude, which essential cuts the city in half. Although you’ll be crossing a bunch of bridges, you won’t be paying any tolls. Meanwhile, the towering spires of the walled city simplify orientation. South of the city center, you’ll find the main route to regional destinations, A61, which leads to Toulouse (93 km / 55 mi) in the east and Narbonne (64 km / 38 mi) in the west.
Driving in the south of France may involve road trips out into the idyllic countryside, where GPS is essential and caution is advised when traversing rural roads, which aren’t always in the best conditions. Otherwise, Carcassonne is well connected to the Pyrenees Mountains (110 km / 66 mi) in the south via D118.
Choosing your car
Most visitors to Carcassonne find it necessary to rent a car, and there are plenty of options on hand. For navigating those narrow French streets, look to Renault minicars, Ford economy 3-door coupes, and Fiat economy 4-door sedans. For road trips into the surrounding regions, Citroen intermediate sedans and Opel estate wagons are ideal for highway cruising. You’ll want a Nissan SUV if you’re headed off into the mountains. Premium vehicles from Mercedes are also available. And for families and larger groups, look to 7-9 seater options from Ford, Opel, and Citroen.
Tips and advice
All road signs are in French, so it’s recommended that drivers get familiar with some of the main phrases used in traffic. Otherwise, distances and speed limits are well marked, and international pictograms are widely used.
If visiting the medieval city in summer, be ready for crushing hordes of fellow tourists and worse — tour groups of 20 or more, all moving at once in one direction. Locals highly recommend visiting in late Spring or early fall.
Parking in the villa basse is…a challenge, unless you simply pay to park at one of the numerous parking garages.
There’s no fee to enter the walled city, and nearby parking rates are reasonable enough — for shorter periods of time.
Carcassonne is a major entry point for exploration of the Languedoc wine region. The birthplace of sparking wine, the town of Limoux, is located 30 km (18) south of Carcassonne via D118.
Third-party insurance — either your own, or through the rental company is required to rent a car in France. The Collision/Loss Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW) is not included in standard rental agreements. The good news is, your credit card travel insurance is probably enough to get you into a car.