Saturday, September 19, 2015

Carcasonne was Awesome

As we whizzed by on the motorway, we spotted Carcassone in the distance dominating on a hill above the town, and were dazzled. Couldn't take a picture at that time, and this was the closest I could get to give a sense of the scale. There were huge walled fortifications surrounding the inner castle complex.

The  scale of the place is better captured in the scale model they had on display,

Touring the actual castle did not disappoint. Youu enter the gate (the barbican) of the town and walk into a different era - the 13thC. 

Yes, you have to ignore some tacky tourist-beckonlng stores, but the atmosphere of the cobbled road as you make you way up the hill to the inner castle overwhelms such petty irritations.

The castle is huge and quite well-preserved. I couldn't stop taking pictures of this impressive place.

From the top of the ramparts, there were beautiful view of the town below. There's an interesting story there. The 'city' at the top of the hill was so intent on keeping everyone out that all the business moved down the hill to the city below. Be careful what you wish for! It was only in the 19thC that work began to restore the castle, and the hill was once again inhabited - this time by cafes, restaurants, many tacky souvenir shops and hordes of tourists. We were once again thankful to be travelling in September,, with lovely weather and relatively few tourists.

Besides the tacky souvenir shops, the other irritation of the castle was how poorly it was marked, and how terrible the audioguide was - asymptotically approaching useless.

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