I do so enjoy living in a fairy tale... ;)

Carcassonne Travel Blog

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La Fete de la Musique!

Bonjour encore! Update on the week...school keeps me quite busy (haha when does it not?). It is a little stressful right now because we are taking 2 full length courses, cramming what would be a semester's worth of work into a mere 3 weeks. Mercifully, it will be over next week. (We begin our courses at Paul Valery, the French University here, on the 4th of July.)

Wednesday we spent an enjoyable night listening to a variety of music...it was "La Fete de la Musique" here in France, a celebration created about 25(ish) years ago that takes place on the first day of summer every year. There are free concerts on every street corner, and the town publishes a map beforehand telling you where each type of music can be found. There were sooooo many people! An interesting cultural experience, to be sure.

Carcassonne - it really is a castle city!

Friday night a few friends and I went out to dinner and a movie after a week of hard work. We ate at a delicious creperie, just off La Place de la Comedie (the central plaza in Montpellier)!!! Apres ça (after that) we bought movie tickets to see "The Break Up" (or "La Rupture" as it is titled here in France). Haha for some reason we thought the movie would be in English with French subtitles, but it definitely was not...it was dubbed over in French. Happily, we all actually understood most of the movie! Not every sentece (they talked really fast sometimes), but enough to follow the events. It was quite exciting! (ps - the movie itself wasn't that great though)

Aujourd'hui (today) the entire uga group traveled to Carcassonne, about an hour west of Montpellier.

Carcassonne again
I think this is my favorite place we have been so far! Honestly, think about pictures of castles and old medieval towns from childhood fairy tales...now you know what Carcassonne looks like. It is just charming...don't worry, pictures will be forthcoming. We took a guided tour (in French!) and saw many of the things we discussed in class before going to the city. I particularly liked the cathedral, which, strangely enough, is a mixture of both Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture.

The old legend behind the origin of the name "Carcassonne" is particularly entertaining (and a little gross) --

According to tradition, there was a princess who lived in the city named Dame Carcas. One day, the city was under siege by Charlemagne, who wanted the town for himself.

crepes at a cute cafe in carcassonne (me, jordan, claire)
This went on for several days, until the food/water situation in the city became desparate. But Dame Carcas had a brillant idea...she fed all of the richest remaining food and wine to the pigs, then catapulted them out to the Charlemagne's army that surrounded the city. Of course, the pigs didn't survive the catapult, but the soldiers were able to see what was in their stomachs (gross part). SOOO the army reasoned, "hey, if they're feeding this nice food to their pigs, they must still have plenty of supplies. Let's go to another city, this will take too long." Which, of course, is exactly what she wanted them to think, and thus successfully hookwinked the mighty Charlemagne's army. After the army departed and the town was free, Dame Carcas rang (or "sonner" en français) the catherdral bells in victory. Thus, the town was called Carcassonne in her honor.

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La Fete de la Musique!
La Fete de la Musique!
Carcassonne - it really is a castl…
Carcassonne - it really is a cast…
Carcassonne again
Carcassonne again
crepes at a cute cafe in carcasson…
crepes at a cute cafe in carcasso…
isnt this a cute sign in Carcasso…
isn't this a cute sign in Carcass…
another shot from outside
another shot from outside
photo by: santafeclau