As my 30th birthday was fast approaching we needed to source a large number of bottles of sparkling wine in order to celebrate the event properly.  We had visited Limoux previously and it is well known for producing sparkling wines that rival champagne in taste and quality.  A very rapid tour of 5 different caves ensued and we finished our visit armed with 30 shiny new bottles.  The rosés are the most delicious (and proved to be the most popular) whilst the Cremant is made with the same grape combination as champagne.  The Blanquette de Limoux is made with a particular grape of the same name only grown in the Limoux area.

The town itself is quaint, straddled across a river with a beautiful square and some fantastic restaurants.  I tried the local dish, Cassoulet; a bean stew with duck and sausage. Superb for the palette, not so great for the waistline ; )

Carcassonne is a town straight out of a fairy tale. The fortified city stands high over the town and is a tremendous sight when lit up at night.  Inside the high walls are shops, restaurants and bars.  On a summer evening the atmosphere was fabulous, full of the vie de France. We took a boat trip down the Canal du Midi. There are two options, one going into the city and one going outwards. We chose the latter though with hindsight the city trip would probably have been more interesting.