Situated on the left bank of the Aude, the Bastide was built during the reign of Saint Louis in 1260 on a rectangular plan laid out around the central square, now the Place Carnot. Nowadays the Bastide, delimited by the boulevards laid out in the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries on the site of the old moats, has retained its chequerboard arrangement of streets and boasts a remarkable architectural heritage, both in its former private mansions and its religious edifices.
The private mansions
The fine façades, the monumental doorways, the staircases and the interior courtyards bear witness to the apogee of Carcassonne’s textile industry in the XVIIIth century. Below are a few examples…
Hôtel de Murat (XVIIIè) - 5 rue Aimé Ramond
From the XVIIth century until the Revolution, this belonged to the De Murat family of city magistrates. Confiscated by the State in 1792, it became the episcopal palace from 1826 to 1906. Today it is home to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Fine façade overlooking the courtyard, large carriage entrance on the street.
Hôtel de Rolland (XVIIIè) - 32 rue Aimé Ramond
Built between 1746 and 1761 by Jean-François Cavailhès, a former drapery merchant, and purchased in 1815 by the Rolland family, who remained its proprietors until 1924. it is now the City Hall and the building most representative of XVIIIth century architecture.
Monumental façade with sculpted decoration, façade overlooking the courtyard, grand ceremonial starcase.
Maison du Sénéchal (XIVè) - 70 rue Aimé Ramon
Built in the XIVth century, it would appear to have escaped the Black Prince’s setting fire to the city in 1355.
Fine façade with twin large windows and doorway with pointed Gothic arch.
Maison Vines (XVIIè) - 26 rue Courtejaire
Built by the descendants of Pierre Vines, a XIIth century tax collector for the diocese. It is a large three-storey house decreasing in width towards the top floor, which was occupied by grain lofts. Two identical gargoyles lead off rainwater, one on the corner of the building, the other over the pedestrianised street below. Rectangular mullioned windows and French-style ceilings.
Hôtel Bourlat (XVIIIè) - 81 rue de Verdun
Erected in the early XVIIIth century by Guillaume Bourlat, it was subsequently purchased by a succession of manufacturers or drapers, including the Castel family in the mid-XIXth century. The façade is simple and characteristic of the mansions in this street, as is the wide arched carriage entrance and the second floor. The corridor opens out onto an interior courtyard enclosed by three buildings with, on the western side, a fine staircase with a wrought-iron balustrade.
Hôtel Besaucèle - 87 rue de Verdun
Guillaume Besaucèle, a member of a family of court officials and churchmen, bought this building in the XVIIIth century. From it he ran a flourishing textile business until his death in 1781. A later proprietor was Jean-Baptiste Marragon (1741-1829).
Raised garden in the interior courtyard.
Hôtel Roux d’Alzonne ( XVIè et XVIIIè) - 73 rue de Verdun
The major part of the building appears to go back to the very end of the Middle Ages or the early XVIth century. From the Renaissance to the XVIIIth century, it was owned by various members of the Roux family and was then, in 1743, acquired by Roch David de la Fajeolle, a manufacturer and merchant, before being sold to a draper in 1758. In the late XIXth century, it became a girls’ boarding school and then Carcassonne’s first state secondary school for girls, named the André Chénier in 1921.
The Portail des Jacobins ( XVIIIè)
Sole surviving example of the four gates of the city fortifications which used to surround the lower city, built between 1355 and 1359. The gate was rebuilt in its present form in its original position in 1779.
On the right-hand side of the gate there are the remains of a stretch of the city wall.
Market Hall (XVIIè-XIXè) – Rue de Verdun et Place Eggenfelden
Built in 1768 on the site of the former ecclesiastical courts and the Sainte-Marie church, this is the city’s indoor market. The pillory was located in the centre of the square.
The former Corn Exchange, in which cereals were traded, is now the Grain d’Aile media resource centre.
The Place Carnot and its fountain
Favoured meeting place of the people of Carcassonne and certain famous guests such as Balzac and Stendhal who loved its market, its shade and its marble Neptune fountain carved by the Italian father and son Barata in the XIXth century.
Since medieval times, the square has housed Carcassonne’s main market, the fruit and vegetable market held on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.
The Pont Vieux (XIVè )
A typical medieval bridge built in the XIVth century. Until the XIXth century it was the only link between the Bastide St Louis and the Medieval City. Its large dimensions are due to variations in the riverbed. At the entrance to the bridge, the chapel of Notre-Dame de la Santé is the sole surviving trace of the city’s oldest hospital.
A pedestrians-only bridge, it provides quick access to the Medieval City.