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July 19th 2016
Published: July 26th 2016
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We arrived by train into Carcassonne and were collected by our most gracious and welcoming Airbnb host- Jocelynne. It was good to be welcomed so warmly to such a beautiful old medieval city. Our apartment was but a few minutes stroll from the walled city and as the floodlights were starting to glow on the castle walls, our first sight impressed us greatly.

When in France, one must drink coffee and eat crusty bread, cheese and croissants. A great start to the day before we climbed up the cobbled pathways into the castle. Lots of other tourists had the same idea so it was sometimes tricky to negotiate our way through the throngs. It all added to the atmosphere though and before long we were strolling up and down the ramparts, gazing up at the towers and enjoying the amazing views across the countryside.

We spent hours exploring every nook and cranny, and imagining how simple yet strenuous life would have been back in the day. Like many castles it is fascinating to see the different building styles as they evolved over the centuries. I think Carcassonne is by far one of the most beautiful medieval castles I have explored.

It is about 4 kilometres in circumference and I reckon we walked this at least twice by the time we walked the ramparts, cut across the cobblestones through the centre then tramped between the two curtain walls. Not content with this much walking, one of us decided to follow a goat track further around to where we had entered the castle to get back to our apartment. The other of us has a slight problem with heights and negotiating steep cliffs so as you might imagine, unkind words were spoken and they were not in the local language! Penance in the form of several glasses of wine were necessary before I recovered my equilibrium.

The next day... we wandered across the old bridge through the narrow alleys and across parks stopping to appreciate the artwork and the views looking back onto the castle. Finding a restaurant we had a very scrumptious meal, good wine and long conversations with other travellers whilst we waited for the floodlights to show off the castle against the backdrop of a clear night sky.

All too soon our brief stop over in Carcassonne came to an end and we packed up so we were ready for the early morning train to Toulouse and our flight on to Sweden.

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