Trip Start May 23, 2012
20Trip End Jul 01, 2012
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We found a good spot to moor at Tribes and took a taxi into the medieval city of Carcassonne.
Although it had been three years since we last came the magic of the cobbled streets and towering spires still struck as as awesome. Alive with tourists we quickly made our way to a quiet square away from the main street and found the exact same restaurant we went to before. It no longer had all the musical instruments of troubadors long gone decorating its walls but the food was very good if on the rich side. After a leisurely lunch we did a tour of the ramparts of the castle which included a couple of small museums holding relics of the days of the Cathars and history of the fortress. It is a Unesco World Heritage sight with two fortified walls and 52 towers and barbicans. Inhabited; invaded or held to seige by Gauls, Romans; Visgoths; Saracens and Franks, they have have all left their mark on its 2,500 year old history. The Aude countryside can be seen from the ramparts, it is an amazing restoration project..
Despite being a busy commercial tourist attraction with too many tacky cheap souvenirs it still has a unique place in history and is so well and tactfully restored. It's a great pity that our own English Heritage does not invest a bit more into resoring our own beautiful castles. The French have more innovation and imagination in their restoration projects and the thriving town full of restaurants and shops are proof that such a project whatever the cost could easily re-couperate the cost of such a project.