When the cite is ablaze,
it's a spectacle that is unique in the world
Every year since 1898, on 14th July as night falls (10:30pm), in the star-filled sky of Carcassonne, on a massive natural set, there has been an incredible technicolour show!
Thirty minutes of brilliant colours, innovative shapes and strong emotions, all staged by the world's best pyrotechnicians, for a show that is worthy of a Hollywood film set. The action takes place in the sky, but also along the 600 metres of ramparts.
After about ten minutes of fireworks, the lights go out and the Cité is set ablaze. The ramparts are covered with red smoke, as if the fortified town is burning at the end of a fatal attack. The intense spectacle begins again and finishes with a final, magical and grandiose flourish.
Our tips to make the most of the Carcassonne fireworks
Always bear in mind: 'Take your time! Arrive early, leave late.'
The fireworks are set off on the western edge of the cité, on the Bastide (low town) side. Do not get a spot very close to the monument to enjoy the entire show.
More than 500,000 people come each year to watch the show, so parking is at a premium, certain routes are closed to vehicles and traffic is disrupted. Be prepared to walk.
We advise you to arrive early in the day to find a parking space in the town. You can then take your time visiting the Bastide, exploring the museums, churches, 18th century mansion houses, little alleyways and the Canal du Midi. A shopping day takes place in the Bastide during the day and a ball closes the 14th July events in place Carnot.
After the blaze, go for a stroll, have a break in a café, enjoy the concerts in place Carnot, as traffic will be disrupted for a number of hours.
The best spots to find a place to enjoy these thirty minutes of pure wonder are:
- along the banks of the river Aude (quai Bellevue and above, towards the Laperine barracks and boulevard Paul-Sabatier), on the (île de la cité (unobstructed spots)
- the Pont Neuf (closed to traffic for the event) is ideal but you have to arrive early. The Pont-Vieux is closed for safety reasons.
A little further away:
- the upper parts of the Grazailles district (behind the station)
- the surrounding vines on the south-east ring road, road to Cazilhac...
- chemin de la madeleine, upper Berriac...
The Belvédère d'Auriac services on the Motorway (between exits 23 and 24) has an exceptional view of the Cité. Vinci autoroute stages events throughout the day, for both young and old, while they wait for the big event.
Arrive early (between 9:00am and 11:00am)! The services are, in principle, closed as soon as there are no free parking spaces. After the fireworks, you can leave with no problems! A tourist steam train also runs from Toulouse.