Carcassonne (Latin: Carcaso) is a fortified French town in the Aude department, in the Region of Occitanie. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Carcassonne is located on historic trade route that links the Atlantic to the Mediterranean sea. Its strategic importance was quickly recognised by the Romans who occupied its hilltop until the demise of the Western Roman Empire. A succession of rulers followed until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also well known for wine-making. A popular stopover on the way from Le Belvedere to Nice, Carcassonne is just under 3 hours drive from Le Belvedere.