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Carcassonne

Cuxac Cabard├Ęs is situated in the Department of Aude - the name taken from the largest river that runs within its boundaries - Languedoc-Roussilan Region. Carcassonne, the principal town of Aude, is unique in France in that it is home to not one, but TWO features that have been designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO - the Canal du Midi and the medieval city of Carcassonne

Construction of the Canal du Midi began in the 17th century in the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV - arguably the most powerful ruler in the entire history of France - who signed off the project in 1666. It was the brainchild of local engineer, Pierre Paul Riquet, who was nearly 60 before the first sod was turned the following year, and lived to see part of it used for the transport of the mail before his death in 1680, but failing only by a year to see its completion  from Toulouse to the Port of Sete. It has been continuously developed in the 200+ years since that date and in the year 2000, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The fairy-tale castle that is the ancient citadel of Carcassonne is the culmination of three thousand years of history. Long before the coming of the Romans, this site was used as a prime defensive position for the ancient Gauls, although nothing remains of that era. The current layout is due to the Romans who built a huge fortress to oversee all movements across the wide valley between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. It was temporarily occupied by the Moors and then by the Cathars, a Christian fundamentalist sect, who were declared heretics by the Roman Catholic Church, and captured by the French crown in 1209. Remnants of all these periods can still be seen in the present structure which was massively restored in the 1850s. It achieved World Heritage status in 1997.