Carcassonne is one of six European cities and regions selected by the Huffington Post on its US site as a “dream destination” to enjoy retirement.
If Europe is your fantasy, this is the opportunity of your lifetime. Right now, thanks to a weak euro and a surging U.S. dollar, you have more options for realizing your dreams of a new life in the Old World than in a decade or longer. Collapsed property markets and recessed economies mean that both the cost of living and of buying Euro-digs all your own currently qualify as extraordinary bargains across the Continent.
No other region in the world offers the history, the culture, or the lifestyle available in Europe. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that you don’t have to come up with a king’s ransom to live happily ever after in this timeless land today. With a budget of as little as 1,500 euros per month, you have many realistic and tempting lifestyle options, including…
Walt Disney is said to have been inspired by its towers, turrets, and ramparts, and you can understand why when the sun rises up over the medieval city of Carcassonne in southeast France. It’s easy, too, to imagine a knight galloping up the cobbled streets and dashing through the portcullis to save his princess.
Carcassonne, at the heart of Cathar country, was first recorded in pre-Roman times. For centuries, it was an important fortification with views up and down the Aude valley. Today, the city of Carcassonne, capital of the Aude department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, has two parts to entice full- or part-time residents and retirees–the medieval Cité (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) up on a plateau on the right bank of the river Aude… and the Bastide Saint Louis below the Cité on the left bank. Though the medieval Cité is where most tourists head, the Bastide is where the majority of residents live.
The whole area has much to offer tourists and residents alike. Within the Cité are the medieval castle, St. Nazarius Basilica, boutiques, artists’ workshops, and Michelin-starred restaurants. Life in the Bastide is centered on the Place Carnot (where a produce market is held three times a week), with its pretty fountain, street-side cafes, and restaurants.
Just 10 minutes’ drive from the city center is an 18-hole golf course and a park with freshwater swimming, hiking, and areas for picnics. Within an hour of Carcassonne are the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, and 90 minutes away is skiing in the Pyrenees.