Medieval Carcassone

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September 24th 2017
Published: September 24th 2017
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After a late continental breakfast of a croissant, we walked to the medieval city - Carcassone Cite Medievale. It is only a 5 minute walk around the corner so our hotel is in a prime location. It was a beautiful day and quite hot at 29 degrees - a big difference to the 16 or so of late in England.

The hilltop site is in the south of France and was protected originally by a Gallo-Roman wall. It was occupied later by the Visigoths, Saracens and Franks in turn. Rebuilt in medieval times by the Cathar family the Trencavels (1100s), was taken by Simon de Montfort in a Cathar Crusade in 1209 and later given to Louis IX. The fortress became a royal estate and defended the border between France and Aragon. In the 19th century, the architect Violett-le-Duc restored the fortifications and it is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

There is an outer wall and an inner wall, with moats outside of both, and inside the city there is a small castle (chateau), basilica, and theatre. People still live inside the city today and the views from the top of the walls towards the modern city and countryside are fabulous.

To enter the medieval city, you walk through the Narbonnaise Gate and over a drawbridge into a barbican, where soldiers would have stood on ramparts protecting the entrance by throwing stones, javelins and shooting arrows through slits in the wall.

The city itself is only a few km in size and full of narrow streets that form a maze. We had booked to go on a walking tour at 12pm so we headed first to the Chateau Comtal – a chateau inside the walled city - to protect the Trancavels. This had its own barbican, keep, battlements, walls and fortified ramparts, towers and central courtyard.

We walked around half of the inner wall, past the Theatre de la Cite (20th Century) and the Basilique St-Nazaire (11th – 14th Century).

After this, we headed down to the entrance to meet our guide and did a walking tour around the walls for just over an hour.

Lunch was in a café and then we wandered around the city for a bit longer before heading back to the hotel.

After a rest, we met up again and headed back to the medieval city for dinner. We ended up at the Adelaide Restaurant, right beside the Chateau and had cassoulet, which is the dish that the regional is famous for.

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29th September 2017

What a foodie life you are leading! A decent croissant - very difficult to find down here. Crepes - always loved the ones in Brittany. Then to cap it all off you have cassoulet. Will your version of cassoulet be on the menu up in HB? Also, interesting to see Carcassonne from a lower level; the coverage on the Tour de France is mainly overheads from the helicopter.

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