TO DO | SHOPPING
Shopping and a medieval citadel might not seem to go well together, and some say La Cité de Carcassonne is a tourist-trap. And sure, you won’t be shopping alone during the high season. However, Carcassonne has many hidden shopping treasures among all the inevitable medieval swords and knights. You might even find the perfect gift… or you can keep your finds for yourself!
1. Joue-Joue – 20 Rue du Plo
La Cité de Carcassonne and its narrow medieval streets are perfect to get lost in. I love to wander around and let the streets take me to some new hidden gems. This is how I discovered the wooden toy store Joue-Joue. Whereas you most likely already passed multiple tourist stores selling wooden swords and shields, Joue-Joue is a lovely toy store with a good selection of high-quality wooden toys. My daughter also loves their cute jewellery. In this store, even the grown-ups feel like children again.
2. La Maison du Savon de Marseille – 29 Rue du Plo
A few doors from Joue-Joue, I step into the heavenly scented shop of La Maison du Savon de Marseille. A soap shop! In all the scents you can imagine! It’s hard to leave this shop without getting a pretty coloured soap bar. They also sell the traditional, natural, olive oil based Marseille soap cube as well as more gift items, but the focus is definitely on soap.
3. La Petite Boutique – 11-1 Rue Raymond Roger Trencavel and 12 Rue Viollet le Duc
La Petite Boutique is a women’s clothing store in Carcassonne’s citadel, like many of the other stores in the town. However, somehow I always take a peek inside, as they always have some beautiful dresses. I also like their accessories like hats, jewellery, bags, shoes, and sunglasses. In fact, they have two boutiques inside the citadel walls. Their other shop on Rue Viollet le Duc also has a good selection of leather bags.
4. Charlotte C – Les Tropeziennes – 11 Rue Saint-Louis
The women’s clothing store Charlotte C is located in probably the most beautiful house of the citadel: the medieval house right opposite the Basilique Saint-Nazaire. It is not for the clothes I go here though. A few doors further down from Charlotte C is a little shop with sandals from the very hip and happening brand Les Tropéziennes de M. Belarbi. In France, these elegant and stylish sandals are very popular, and I finally bought myself a pair.
5. Maison du Sud – 3 Rue de la Porte de l’Aude
Strolling my way through the picturesque streets, I soon enough come across another favourite: Maison du Sud. The outside of the shop just exudes the picture-perfect image of the South of France. Inside you will find beautiful scarfs, fouta beach towels, straw bags, lace and linen in powdery tones. This shop is a must-visit if you like great quality decorative items and homeware that reminds you of years gone by.
6. Le Petit Bois – 15 Rue de la Porte de l’Aude
Whenever I am visiting Carcassonne with our kids, they always get tempted to buy a wooden sword with their pocket-money. Or a shield. Or both. I usually try to avoid the busy Rue Cros Mayrevieille, and directly go to the delightful toy store Le Petit Bois. Here you can also get wooden swords and shields, but somehow they feel more authentic as they also sell lots of other educational and inspiring toys. No plastic toys with flashing lights or annoying sound effects here.
7. Thé à la Cité – 4 Place du Grand Puits
Since I’m more of a tea person, Thé à la Cité is my kind of shop. Here you can get a wide selection of the finest teas from the Dammann Frères, tea merchants in Paris since 1692. The passionate owner is more than happy to help you choose from the many blends. You can even do a tea tasting. Thé à la Cité sells more than just tea though. I am always attracted to the many beautiful mugs and teapots.
8. Les Bonbons des Chevaliers – 3 Rue Cros Mayrevieille
Ok, so this is one of the touristy shops in the most touristy street. I’ll mention it anyway because if you’re visiting Carcassonne with kids, this shop is a must-stop. Where else can you buy candy under the watchful eye of knights?!