Carcassonne (Occitan: Carcassona) is a fortified French town in the Aude department, of which it is the prefecture, in the former province of Languedoc.
It is separated into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse. Carcassone was founded by the Visigoths in the Golden Age. The folk etymology – involving a châtelaine named Carcas, a ruse ending a siege and the joyous ringing of bells ("Carcas sona") – though memorialized in a neo-Gothic sculpture of Mme. Carcas on a column near the , is of modern invention. The fortress, which was thoroughly restored in 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. The name can be derived as a hyperbole of name Carcas. Similarly in Italian language, there are derived names like Castellino (little castle) – Castello – Castellone (big castle), or Ombrellino (small umbrella) – Ombrello – Ombrellone (large umbrella). A double 's' in the name appears for phonetic reasons, otherwise as a self standing 's' it would be pronounced as 'z'.