Carcassonne’s amazing fortress Cité

Clearly we were all a bit tired and had slept in. Ate breakfast on the boat about 8:45. Karen and I went to the Thursday market to buy some peaches and a nectarine plus some tomatoes while the others went to the port laundry to do washing. It wasn’t a particularly busy market which meant we had lots of offers of fruit, cheese and sausage to try.

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Met back at the boat for lunch of baguette, cheese, saucissons and salad from our shopping trip.

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In the afternoon we crossed over the canal to the bus stop. We all caught the 14:00 tourist train around the city and up to the old Cité. Lots of towers and ramparts to photograph.

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There was also a display of quite unusual sculptures to the right of the fortress entrance.

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We walked over the drawbridge

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and up the Main Street. Lots of touristy shops, cafés and galleries. We asked at Tourist Info about Château Comtal, the central castle of the fortress city then made our way to the entry. €8.50 each.

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Stairs led up to the second level and we started our self guided tour from there. There were lots of displays with information and helpfully it was in three languages. At a number of points we were able to walk on the inner ramparts and had excellent views out to the town below and the surrounding countryside.

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After making our way around the château we became separated in the souvenir shop section. Karen and I took a walk across a courtyard and down some narrow stairs in a tower to the outer western ramparts. Couldn’t see the others so we rang them. They had mistakenly exited so came back in and caught up with us as we finished the last part of the outer rampart walk, which offered many impressive views.

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After descending from the ramparts we entered the St Nazaire church.

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After looking around for a while we noticed some singers setting up. When they began to sing it was beautiful. After three songs they spoke in French and English inviting us to buy their CD. They were from Russia! The singing had certainly been a highlight of the visit. We left the church and walked around the old town streets of the Cité for a while. John and I bought souvenir t-shirts. Then we had an afternoon drink, and cake for some, at Le Grand Puits restaurant. As time was getting on we walked around more, checking out restaurants. A group of medieval musicians went past twice. They were advertising a themed restaurant.

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We ended up at Restarant La Table Ronde just up a street away from the square full of very touristy restaurants. We ate outside under some huge but lovely trees.

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Karen ate a salad paysan. I had a €16 Menu of fish soup, chicken breast with veggies followed by yummy chocolate mousse for dessert. After dinner we left the citadel which was brilliantly floodlit.

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After taking numerous photos we walked all the way back to the port through the restaurant area under the fortress walls, the lower town and its main street. Our first visit to the Cité of Carcassonne had certainly lived up to expectations.

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