East of Toulouse in the South of France lies Carcassonne, a small but thriving holiday town. The city consists of two parts; the modern downtown area and the most famous area, the Cite de Carcassonne. This stunning medieval castle is what most tourists come for. That, and the beautiful Mediterranean weather that the region enjoys.
Carcassonne experiences hot, sunny summers, mild winters and short in between seasons of spring and autumn. The month of April marks the end of spring in Carcassonne and the weather continues to improve towards summer. Temperatures are increasing at this time of year, and the average temperature is now around 12°C, up 2 degrees from March. Temperatures do vary quite a lot at this time of the year though, with highs that peak at a pleasant 17°C during the day and lows that fall to a chilly 7°C at night. While days are more than comfortable for walking around in, it is advisable to pack some warmer layers to wear of an evening. There's also a 40% chance of a windy day, which can make temperatures feel cooler than they actually are.
Sunshine levels are also increasing quite substantially in April, and the abundance of sunshine is a great taste of what's to come later in the year. The month sees 6 hours of bright sunshine every day, which provides great conditions for outdoor activities.
There's a chance of some April showers in Carcassonne this month, so holiday makers should be prepared for wet weather. There's around 70mm of precipitation in April, which will fall over 11 days on average. Rainfall in Carcassonne tends to fall in short, sharp showers and then pass quickly, so it shouldn't put too much of a dampener on your holiday.
Despite this small chance of wet weather, April is actually one of the most popular times to visit Carcassonne as the region really starts to come to life at this time. In addition, mild temperatures are comfortable enough for exploring the city's attractions and outside of peak summer season the crowds of tourists are much less.
If you're looking for a place to stay in Carcassonne in April, you'll be spoiled for choice. The town has a wide range of accommodation options that cater to everyone, from families on a budget to couples looking for an upmarket hotel experience.
Chateau de Cavanac offers a peaceful stay in traditional French surroundings. Located 3 miles from the centre of Carcassonne, the hotel is housed inside of a beautiful 17th century chateau. Rooms are spacious, comfortable and decorated in an opulent style with canopy beds and private bathrooms, providing a relaxing retreat for guests.
If you prefer to be at the heart of the action, Hotel de la Cite Carcassonne - MGallery Collection is located within the old city walls of Carcassonne, offering beautiful views of the Saint Nazaire Basilica. This chic boutique hotel combines Provencal-style decoration with contemporary amenities such as iPod docking stations and TVs while there's also an on-site restaurant and a choice of two bars. A great choice for couples.
For a home away from home, Cerise Carcassonne Sud residence comprises of apartments that are fully-equipped with kitchenettes, TV and free Wi-Fi, and sleep up to six people. These convenient apartments are just a 15 minute walk from the old town of Carcassonne and also include free parking.
Food lovers will not be disappointed on their visit to Carcassonne. Like much of France, the region is renowned for its delicious and authentic local cuisine which can be found in one of the many eateries spread all over the city.
One of the most highly-rated is Chez Fred located to the north of the city. This friendly, family run restaurant is a popular spot with locals, which is always a sign of high quality cuisine. The menu showcases a selection of French and Mediterranean dishes as well as a range of tasty desserts and a large choice of wines.
No visit to the South of France would be complete without trying one of the region's most renowned dishes, the cassoulet, and you'll find some of the best at La Maison du Cassoulet in Carcassonne. This eatery serves a range of mouth-watering casseroles in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Located in the old medieval town, it's a great spot for lunch or an evening meal after a busy day of sight-seeing.
Last but not least, if you've filled up on French cuisine and your taste buds are craving something a little different, how about Italian? Pizzeria Rabah Zaoui offers some of the best Italian pizzas in the city, from classic margherita to some more unique options with a range of meat and seafood toppings. A must-visit when you're in Carcassonne.
April signifies the beginning of some truly unique experiences that should not be missed in Carcassonne. One of these is an annual event known as Jazz Week, which takes place during April. This concert series is held at the historic and beautiful Jesuit College Chapel, which is a viewing pleasure in itself and rich with history. During the festival, you can enjoy not one but four nights of eclectic jazz performances, including big band sounds, solo performances, duos and trios. Both contemporary and classic styles are featured and celebrated.
Before the summer arrives, April might be the perfect time, temperature wise, to take one of the many bike tours that offer a one-of-a-kind view of the city. These tours offer many additional options; you can choose to rent a bike for a day and go it alone or book a week-long cycling holiday which takes you on a guided tour around the whole region. One of the most popular routes is to cycle along the Canal du Midi, a flat and easy route with lots to see along the way.