La Cité

Carcassonne Travel Blog

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Today we set out to discover the sights of the historic city of Carcassonne.   It was the hottest day so far with temperatures reaching the mid to high thirties, and the car journey was painfully hot.   When we reached Carcassonne we headed straight for ‘La Cité médiévale de Carcassonne’, the medieval city in Carcassonne.  The fairytale turrets of the cite looking over the modern city as a constant reminder of the Cities heritage.  We parked in a small car park near the old bridge and meandered our way up through the streets surrounding the citadel.   Every little shop and café seemed to be thronging with tourists of every nationality and I catch threads of conversations in many different languages.   I noticed that the end of the drain pipes have been fitted with pipes ending in the angry head of a snake-like gargoyle for effect.  


When we reach La Cité we enter through the ‘porte narbonnaise’ the main gate, and over the heavy wooden drawbridge.   Through the large entrance between two large opposing towers I can see the lively Cité within.  I decide to stroll around the ramparts first.    After sitting in the shade of one of the large turrets for lunch I feel rejuvenated and decide to head in to the Cité  I enter through one of the smaller gates and wander through the streets lined with themed restaurants, post cards and curio shops all trying to sell the tourists a piece of Carcassone.  Before long I found myself in the square outside St. Nazarius' Basilica, the vast 11th Century Cathedral.   Entering the Basilica was like joining another world, the heat, noise and cheery atmosphere outside was replaced by a slight chill, soft whispers, clicks from camera’s and the sense of awe.   The stained glass windows were magnificent, streaming in colourful light that danced on the floor and bathed visitors. 


After the cool air in the Basilica the heat out side seemed to have become increasingly more oppressive.  I wandered around the Cité for a little while longer finding various points of interests, small open areas with fountains, shaded grassy patches where people cowered from the wrath of the suns rays for a few brief seconds, and then I found the Châteaux.   I was not able to go into the  Châteaux as I had my families little dog with me, but the building was pretty inspiring from the outside.   It had a long bridge over another moat that surrounded only the Châteaux, tall towers and turrets, with wooded fortifications over some of the walls. 


It was now time to go home; we strolled back through the streets and down the winding roads to the modern city where we had left the car by the river.   I took one last look back at the city as we crossed the bridge and then we headed home.

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photo by: santafeclau