Carcassonne is a small town located in southern France's Languedoc region. The town is most famously known for its walled medieval citadel and ancient castle which overlooks the town from its hilltop position and attracts millions of visitors every year - it is France's second-most visited tourist spot after the Eiffel Tower. Of course, the sunny Mediterranean weather also draws in tourists, especially in the summer months when it's at its best.
May is the official start of the touristy summer season thanks to the wonderful weather that the town enjoys at this time of year. Days are warm and long, making time for all that the region has to offer.
The average temperature in May is a pleasant 16°C with highs that peak at 22°C during the day. This is more than warm enough to walk around outdoors comfortably, so holiday makers can explore all of Carcassonne's outdoor attractions. Lows drop to just 10°C at night, although there is a 40% chance of a windy day, and any winds that do occur will make temperatures feel a little cooler.
Carcassonne is located in one of France's sunniest regions and sunshine is in abundance as summer arrives in the region. There's an average of 7 hours of sunshine every day, which tourists can soak up on one of the city's charming outdoor patios or terraces.
Another major improvement in the weather compared to April is a drop in rainfall levels. May sees an average of 60mm of precipitation throughout the month which falls over 9 days on average. While this may sound like a lot, rainfall in Carcassonne tends to fall in short showers which pass quickly and make way for sunnier weather.
While May is considered summer season and certainly exhibits summery weather, the town doesn't get overly busy until later in the season. This makes it a great month to visit if you prefer a more peaceful atmosphere.
If you're looking for a memorable place to stay in Carcassonne in May, Hotel du Chateau will not disappoint. Ideally located just 30 yards from the entrance to the Cité de Carcassonne, this four-star boutique hotel and spa has an upscale feel with luxurious décor and spacious, stylish rooms. The hotel also features an indoor pool, a hot tub and spa. One of the most impressive features, though, is the panoramic bar which offers beautiful views of the old city.
Another popular choice is the BEST WESTERN Hotel le Donjon located in the heart of Carcassonne. In fact, this is the only four-star hotel located inside the walls of the famous city, so is a perfect combination of luxury and convenience. The hotel features a restaurant and a cocktail bar and offers free Wi-Fi throughout.
Hotel Restaurant Le Parc Franck Putelat provides a peaceful stay in Carcassonne as it is located on a 600m² park just a short walk outside of the city centre. Guests will love the contemporary and stylish rooms which feature bathrooms and flat screen TVs as well as their own private balcony or terrace while the hotel also features a Michelin-star restaurant.
When it comes to eating out during May, Carcassonne offers a huge choice to suit every taste, from fine dining restaurants to quirky cafés.
For a very traditional French dining experience, try Auberge de Dam Carcas located inside the Cite de Carcassonne. This restaurant features a ground level that allows patrons to watch chefs as they work while the top level is a slightly more formal restaurant. Alternatively, subject to weather, you may choose to dine outside on the lovely terrace.
On warm May afternoons, the charming walled patio at the Restaurant La Marquiere is arguably one of the best places to dine in Carcassonne. This highly-rated restaurant offers exquisite service and food to match, with a menu full of authentic French cuisine that's beautifully presented. This family-run restaurant has gained an excellent reputation with both locals and tourists.
Last but not least, Les Mets-Tisses is ideally located just outside of the walled city and is a great choice for lunch or dinner during your visit. The lunch time Menu du Jour is a great value option, featuring three courses, wine and coffee for a very reasonable price.
With rising temperatures and an abundance of sunshine, May is the perfect time to take advantage of Carcassonne's outdoor features.
Located just out of the city, the Lac de la Cavayere provides a wonderful setting for a day out. This large artificial lake is set over 18 hectares and surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it a popular recreation area for holiday makers. A stroll around the lake takes about an hour, in which time you can take in the carefully maintained habitats. There is an island in the middle of the lake specially designed for the indigenous aquatic birds.
Another fun attraction that both kids and adults will love is Le Parc Australien, a small zoo that specialises in Australian animals such as kangaroos and wallabies. There's also a range of games and puzzles and a playground to keep children entertained as well as the chance to pan for gold and learn how to throw a boomerang. The zoo is just a 10 minute drive outside of Carcassonne.