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Campanile (Carcassonne)

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Address: Rue Camille Flammarion 11000 Carcassone

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      10.02.2012 12:52
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      A great value option for seeing Carcassonne on a budget.

      We stayed for 3 nights in this Campanile hotel on the outskirts of Carcassonne at the end of January 2012. Campanile is a French chain of hotels akin to Premier Inn in the UK. They have literally hundreds actoss France and also in other countries (there are a number in the UK now too) and based on our experience I would definitely consider them as a good option for a short break or a business stay.

      Location:
      Our Campanile was based in Carcassonne, well on the outskirts of the city, it is approximately a 20-30 minute walk from the hotel into la Cite itself and a further 5-10 minutes to the new City, depending on how fast you walk. Its just over 2km on google maps and the route could not be more straightforward, indeed you can see the turrets of the old medieval Cite from the hotel and you literally follow the road straight from one to the other down a fairly inoccuous residential street.

      The area around the hotel is akin to a retail park with various large stores and car parks. This could be either a blessing or a curse but we chose to see it as the former as it meant we could stock up on very cheap pain au chocolat for breakfast and wines and snacks for the evenings. There is a choice of two supermarkets and a number of other shops although they do all close by around 9pm so you need to be organised if you plan on using them.

      The reason I say it could also be a curse in this location is that it feels very industrial and there are very few options for eating/drinking around the hotel. In fact, save for eating in the hotel (which I am sure would be fine as it caters primarily for business people) you are limited to a McDonalds across the way, an Asian Buffet restaurant (all you can eat but there was never anyone in there) or the local Casino's bar/restaurant.

      It did not bother us too much as we intended on eating in and around the Cite itself anyway - although you should be warned that during January about 80% of restaurants do not bother opening at all (which took us somewhat by surprise and limited our options).


      Hotel Rooms:
      Our room was lovely and felt very much like a slightly better version of a Premier Inn room. Basic but very clean and comfortable and - wow - the shower was AMAZING. I will come back to the bathroom in a minute but the main room itself had a large and very comfortable bed, bedside tables a sideboard and a flat screen TV built into the wall opposite the bed. There was a kettle with tea and coffee and a wardrobe area with a few drawers and shelves on the wall by the door.

      The bathroom was lovely, very bright and clean and modern and the shower had TWO different heads, both a standard power shower head and then a giant rainfall style head and (I have never seen this before) you could switch between either head or have both on at the same time which gave a proper drenching. This was absolutely lovely and as a decent shower is one of my pre-requisites in any hotel room it scored top marks here. Hot water was always available and the pressure was great.

      Rooms were cleaned while we were out every day and we had no complaints at all about the room - it was exactly what we needed for a comfortable and enjoyable stay. We had a room right at the end of the corridor on the first floor although sadly we were facing the motorway at the back of the hotel - rooms on the front would have a great view of La Cite itself on the horizon and for future stays I would always request one of these.

      Our room was very quiet and we slept very well during our stay.

      Staff/facilities:
      We found all the staff we encountered to be extremely polite and helpful, we had a joyous conversation on our first day with the lovely receptionist in broken French/English as we were very early for checking in, she locked our luggage away for us, scribbled lots of recommendations on a map and sent us on our way to explore La Cite. Other staff on different days ordered taxis and were very helpful and friendly. Notably everyone tried their best in English and really appreciated our weak French attempts.

      The hotel has free wi-fi in all the rooms and common areas and to log on you simply need to enter your room number and Surname, it worked flawlessly throughout our stay for me and was a very useful thing to have.

      There is a bar and restaurant on the ground floor and though we did not use either I skimmed one of the menus on the bar and everything seemed amazingly reasonably priced for a hotel - glasses of the house wine were around 3 euros.

      If you drive to this hotel there is plenty of parking due to the location, we found that Taxi drivers always knew exactly where it was if you just said 'Campanile' and the cost was around 10 euros from the Cite and cost us 17 euros to the airport from the hotel on our last day.

      Overall:
      A fab hotel which cost us a very reasonable £44 per night (check Hotels.com etc for the best prices) and which we would definitely stay in again. What you lose in not being within La Cite you make up for in value, comfort and quiet. If you want to visit Carcassonne on a budget I would highly recommend this as an all round good option.

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