Carcassonne, Southern France

Carcassonne, Southern France

Dating back to the sight of a Roman settlement in the 2nd century, the citadel of Carcassonne is a perfectly restored medieval town protected by UNESCO.   Centuries of primarily religious wars led to it’s near-destruction, only the lower sections of the walls are original; the rest including the witch-hat roofs were ‘stuck on’ by architectural historian Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century.

It’s like walking into a fairytale with double ramparts and 52 stone towers ..

Walk with me as we cross the threshhold just as Kevin Costner did in ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’ into  Nottingham Castle La Cité.   The entrance, Porte Narbonnaise, flanked by two sandstone towers, was built in 1280;  the defences included two port-cullises, two iron doors, a moat and a drawbridge  ( oh so difficult to get decent pics here as it was crowded!)

The easily defended spaces between the two rampart walls is called the lices, were also used for  jousting, crossbow practice and storing timber and other materials … I could imagine it all !!  I am a romantic by heart 🙂  love all those medieval tales !!

Took this photo below to show the different section of walling, each section built at different times.  The mind boggles as to how they do it, but the second section from the bottom is the original, the bottom is newer ..    The ramparts were built by King Louis VIII, Louis IX and Philip the Bold, in the 13th century

Cute caps on the horses!!  No idea where this mode of transport goes to and from.  Our hotel was just down the road .. a hill actually,  so we walked here

Our local tour guide – she had a very strong French accent, sometimes quite difficult to understand, but she did speak slowly and clearly 🙂

Narrow streets lined with souvenir shops … rather crowded and difficult to keep up with our group !

Bust of Jean-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille 1810-1876 – First Saviour of Carcassonne who was born in the area and was passionate about saving the city from being demolished to make way for a yarn mill.  He was appointed inspector of historic monuments and it’s thanks to him that the restoration work was undertaken by Viollet-le-Dec

Basilique St-Nazaire – a Romanesque and Gothic church from 11th/14th century  …

13th and 14th century rose windows at each end of the graceful Gothic transept arms ..

Had problems with this post .. gremlins kept deleting text and photos 🙁    Am getting rather fed-up so shall add those – that just refuse to upload – to next post on Carcassonne # 2  We will continue our walk-about after me taking a few deep calming breaths !!! 🙂  .. watch this space 🙂

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