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Carcassonne -- the famous castle, a must-see

Day 8 — July 8, 1996 (Monday)

La Cité at Carcassonne seen while driving to Saint-Hilaire

La Cité at Carcassonne seen while driving to Saint-Hilaire

The cassoulet last night was incredible — possibly the best food I’ve ever had. Facilities forgiven! When Madame brought out the chubby round steaming hot casserole, we thought we were to take a portion each and the rest would go to others. As it turned out, the entire thing was just for the two of us. Needless to say, we couldn’t finish even half of it although it was so delicious that we tried heartily. She has a third place ribbon for her cassoulet on the wall so we wonder how delicious the first and second place winners were! It really warmed us up on a cold night.

It was cold and damp last night. I’m wearing a tee shirt under my sleep sweatsuit tonight. I now have a full-blown sore throat — the cold weather is no help. It is hard to believe this is July in southern France.

We went down to the Auberge (Auberge le Cathare in Belflou) this morning and wrote postcards in the warm dining room while we waited for breakfast . . . . rolls, bread, confiture (jam), coffee and hot chocolate. Finished breakfast and postcards, brushed teeth and headed for Carcassonne — a medieval fortress. Auberge Le Cathare web site [Tel: +33 (0)4 6860 3249; Fax: +33 (0)4 6860 3790; contact@camping-lecathare.com]

Took D415 (a one-lane road) to D624 at Castelnaudary, home of cassoulet, where we ran into market day on the already-narrow streets. Somehow Ed navigated the streets and we found N113 to Carcassonne. Narrow streets and traffic there too, but we ended up at parking for La Cité — which is an incredible sight as you approach.

Entrance to La Cité at Carcassonne

Entrance to La Cité at Carcassonne

We parked and started toward the castle. Just as we arrived, the rain started again. We had forgotten our umbrellas so we waited under some trees by a carousel. When the rain stopped, we entered the magical medieval walled city. It’s a major tourist trap, but it’s okay because no amount of Disneyization can destroy well over 2000 years of history.

We walked all over the place — between the double castle walls, up and down towers, through the tiny crowded streets, and even down some deserted streets. We visited the church and took pictures of the rose windows and gave coins of the realm to a beggar who wasn’t having much luck at the church door. Bought great tee shirts for the kids; didn’t buy a neat little fountain for me — couldn’t figure out how to get it home. Oh well!

*****

Bridge inside La Cité at Carcassonne

Bridge inside La Cité at Carcassonne

Stopped in a creperie for lunch. Again, okay but not great. The cook at our campground is much better. We left the Cité and drove south toward the Abbey at Saint-Hilaire and then back to Carcassonne via D104. I was looking for the perfect photo. Ed accidentally turned past a gendarmerie and we ended up in a little park across the River Aude from the castle. I took a few “perfect” photos and we headed home.

Looking forward to duck barbecue tonight. We ordered this morning. Madame Casanave, the lady who owns the auberge is very helpful. Our cassoulet last night had both duck and sausage with the beans and it was incredible.

One of many entrances inside La Cité

One of many entrances inside La Cité


La Cité at Carcassonne

La Cité at Carcassonne


La Cité - Carcassonne from the Aude River

La Cité - Carcassonne from the Aude River

Posted by Beausoleil 15:47 Archived in France Tagged camping carcassonne cassoulet

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Comments

Somewhere I have always wanted to visit! All your pages remind me how little I have seen of France, beyond Paris that is

by ToonSarah

Thank you Sarah. Interestingly, we have never spent the night in La Cité. This September we've booked a B&B inside the medieval city for two nights so we can be there all night and see the illumination and the city without quite so many tourists. We did attend Mass one Sunday morning and there were no people there except folks attending church . . . and there were very few of us. ;^) The crowds started arriving around 11 AM. No guarantee though. We were there for Mass another time and a mini-parade formed outside the church making all kinds of noise. They did stop before the organist started the service but we walked out into a mob scene . . . a fun mob scene.

by Beausoleil

Staying overnight will be a great experience I'm sure - a bit like, for us, staying over on Lindisfarne after all the tourists leave and the tide comes in and cuts off the island!

by ToonSarah

Spending a night on Lindisfarne is on our must-do list. We were enchanted by the island when we visited.

by Beausoleil

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