Friday, February 19, 2016

Carcassonne, France

After our 1-week stay in Le Barcares (click here for the post), it was time to move somewhere else. We were determined to see as much as we could and we were definitely not done yet with our summer vacation. So our next stop was in the medieval city of Carcassonne in the Aude departement of France.

Carcassonne is a perfect example of why I always tell people that France isn't just Paris (as some would unfortunately think). MR himself discovered that during our little road trip. Every few kilometers brought us to new and unique places.

I couldn't help taking pictures as we were walking around, including of this fountain.

The place is well taken care of which would be a shame otherwise.

I learned that a long time ago, the French government actually wanted to take down the fortress because of how badly it was damaged. Thankfully (for us and the thousands of tourists), the mayor at the time fought against this decision. Nowadays, La Cité de Carcassonne has been added to the list of World Heritage Sites.

To learn more about the Cité de Carcassonne, we decided to take the Petit Train de la Cité.
A special post about this tour will come up next.

After our tour by train, we decided to go in the fortress and discover by foot. There were lots of visitors, but we never felt cramped like sardines.

Musée de L'inquisition - Tortures, Chatiments, & Punitions
This caught our attention, but with SO we knew it would be impossible to go in. Next time, I hope.

In lieu of the museum of torture, we dropped by shopping stores to buy souvenirs.
I always make sure to get a postcard and refrigerator magnet for my collection. We also picked up local goods for family and friends. For us, too. I didn't think it was much more expensive than anywhere else.

We walked some more. The views are spectacular. I don't know when I will ever be able to have a view like this or be here again.

It is a must-see even if you're not into medieval history.
The visit is free, but beyond this point - you have to pay for a guided tour.

There are lots of little shops, but shopping time was over for now. It was time to eat. Yum!

The Cité felt like a maze and the winding streets led us to somewhere new each time. As we were looking for a restaurant to have lunch, we stumbled unto this cross. This reminded me that our next stop was Lourdes and that we had to leave in a couple of hours.

The Cité of Carcassonne is flooded by restaurants. Although there are lots of tourists, there is always a table or two free. We didn't have a particular restaurant in mind, just a particular dish.

I saw this traditional outfit and hesitated. A big part of me wanted to buy it for SO, but honestly, when would she wear this? And most importantly, would she wear it??? Knowing her, probably not.

The Cité de Carcassonne is a must-see and I highly recommend it.

What MR and I felt when we first saw the fortress must be identical to what our daughter must have felt when she first saw the castle of Disneyland Paris. Surreal and perfect.

The only thing I might regret about this is not having taken enough time. Please do. Take your time to walk around and discover each corner of this beautiful and breathtaking place. Because looking back, I am a bit frustrated. I would have loved to watch the jousting show or gone to the museum, or even ridden the horse-drawn carriage.

But I know we'll be back. I just don't know when.


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