Europe 2012: Day 40, Carcassonne


The side wall of the castle at Carcassonne, France.

Monday, July 16, 2012

We woke up around 9am.  It was sunny and breezy.

Today would be a lazy day.  We only have one activity on our agenda — Carcassonne!  This place has a looooong history.  Click on the link for more information about it.   My DH is interested in this place because one of his favorite books, Labyrinth  (by Kate Mosse) takes place here.

Carcassone is one of the best examples I have seen of a medieval castle.   It was considered impenetrable because it has three walls instead of one.   For example, if the enemy was able to break through the first wall, they would find themselves in the middle of a big ditch and in full unprotected view of the archers on top of the second wall.  I think that is pretty clever!

Carcassonne, like Mont St-Michel, is a huge tourist trap.  But today we have great weather so I have no complaints.   Here are some pictures:

The double walls of the Carcassonne Castle, France.

One of the towers of the Carcassonne Castle, France.

My DH can’t believe how tall this wall really is! (Carcassonne, France)

The crowd at the Carcassonne Castle, France.

The Cathedral of Carcassonne, France.

The stained glass rosette of the Cathedral of Carcassonne, France.

We also took a tour of the Chateau – the castle within the castle at Carcassonne.   There are no rooms to see here, the tour is about the fortress and how it was designed and built.   It was all very interesting.

View of the new city from the Carcassonne Castle, France.

This area of southern France is very close to Spain.   Even though the locals speak French they look Spanish – olive skin, dark wavy hair, dark eyes, thin nose that sweeps into a bit of a hook, and full lips on a long face.   The food has taken on a Spanish flavor to – paprika and saffron.  My DH and I shared a paella for lunch – saffron rice with chicken, hot sausage, and seafood (mussels, calamari, and shrimp) – it was tasty.

Paella and sangria for lunch! (Carcassonne, France)

I found Carcassonne to be well worth the visit!

We left Carcassonne around 5pm.  It took about an hour to make it back to our French house.   The kitchen is functional and I made pasta with tomato sauce again.  I would show you a picture but the overhead light in the kitchen turns everything yellow, so what would be the point. We still don’t like this place.

After dinner, we surfed that web looking for laundromats as we need to wash some clothes.   This house was advertised with laundry facilities which turned out to be a stone sink in the garage (cold water only).  Call me a “Princess” but this is not my idea of a laundry.   We asked Bridget whether there were any self-service laundromats in the area.  She said “yes, but it will turn all your clothing gray.”  Oh, dear!

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