Carcassone in the rain

Trip Start Dec 01, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  ,
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's a rainy morning but never mind the temperature has risen by at least 8 C over Bordeaux and the castle is open later, I really think that will be worth a visit and then I can tell you more about it.

First things first there is shopping to be done. When is a casino not a casino? When it's the hugest supermarket I have ever been in. I spent a happy hour or so just mooching around the store choosing my lunch and supper. I had a real craving for cassoulet (one of my favourite foods), its advertised everywhere at all the eateries in Carcassonne and a touch pricey, the cheapest being € 11. Fantastic it's a speciality of the region therefore the supermarket has a huge selection at much below the restaurants. Dilemma, duck, goose or pork? Duck today but I got a second with goose for another time.

Now for a visit to the castle, only € 7.50. It's a massive castle and has been extensively rebuilt from the 1800's. The earliest part is Roman dating back to the 4th century, so all in all very well used and consequently a real mixture of styles. A large part of it is real fairytale castle, with the pointy towers that would have had bright banners flying from them in the stories. The information on the way round was very good if not more history than I could take in at one go. I was more taken with walking the ramparts, looking over the city, no wonder its been fortified for so long, you can see for miles. I could imagine the Roman soldiers looking out of their distinctively shaped towers, munching on their olives and flapping around in their sandals. Also I could sense the French soldiers lurking overhead, waiting to drop rocks and fire arrows down on their unsuspecting enemies trying to sneak in under their feet.

There is a great walk that takes you around the majority of the city walls and ramparts, its amazing looking back into the medieval part of the city, peering over the rooftops and alleyways, it is very much a living, breathing, working museum. There is protection for the area but it's not smothered by to many rules and regulations, it really does work and I feel very privileged to have been able to stay within these walls and be part of this living heritage site.

It continues to rain, I was quite damp when I came down from the city walls and gave in to it, I am now the proud owner of a bright, cheerful, red & yellow parapluie, (umbrella) with a very tasteful Carcassonne logo on it. I think it was designed by the geniuses that dreamt up some of the really nasty tortures and weapons, this thing has some power behind it, on its first outing I nearly took out 2 quite innocent geriatrics.

With parapluie I took a stroll around the inner city, it's tiny but once you've been up each alleyway it's quite a decent walk. I found the expensive quarter, Chez Saskia needs to take a pay cut, € 35 for lunch, I think not. Oh and the sweet shops, I've never seen anything like it and I'm glad I went in the assistants were very free with the samples, it made a nice addition to my lunch, especially the biscuity delicacy with raspberry in the centre, there's a whole display of these baked items stacked up in the centre of the shop and so many flavours and so expensive. I'm going to have to go back this evening and see if I can take some photos through the windows, it really is spectacular. Kid in a sweety shop, me?

Well kids and sweety shops and Christmas lights. I'd noticed the Christmas lights in the centre of Carcassonne as I arrived, seeing as they had made such and effort I thought it would be rude not to try to visit in person and try to get some photos and a little video.

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