A game fan's dream

Carcassonne Travel Blog

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The outside of the Carcassonne wall.
For those of you who aren't total game geeks, Carcassonne is the name of one of my favorite board games.  I knew it was based on a city in France, but I didn't realize it still existed, in all it's medieval glory.  When breaking our drive up from Geneva to Malaga, Megs suggested we stop off at Carcassonne.  The Lonely Planet said that the outside of the city is the best part simply because the inside of the city is a mess with touristy shops.  Luckily, we're traveling during the slow season and I was confident we would love it.

Carcassonne has a long history, dating before Christ in one form or another.  It was one of the main fortifications for the Romans in Gaul during the 400 years of the Pax Romana, falling to the Visigoths after the collapse of the Empire.
Carcassonne the board game.
  It’s full development of defense works was built in 1270 and the city withstood assault after assault for hundreds of years.  The city’s undoing occurred not from conflict or sieges but from politics.  In the 17th century the Pyrenean Treaty shifted the border of France south to its current border in the Pyrenees mountains.  In 1791 the Citadel was reduced to the rank of third class fortified town and in 1806 it was removed from the list of fortified towns all together.

In 1836, John-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille lobbied for the attention of the French government to list Carcassonne as a historical monument and effect repairs, but in 1850, Napoleon III removed the city from the lists for financial reasons.  Cros-Mayrevieille succeeded in having the order rescinded and had the city returned to the control of the Ministry of Defense.
The 'witch's hat' turret covers were added in the 1800's when the city was renovated.
  In 1853, Viollet-le-Duc, a highly controversial architect of the time, was given the job of restoring the town.  Though much of the restoration was authentic, conflict arose over Viollet-le-Duc’s adding of such structures as the now famous “witch hat” tower peaks.

The city is incredible.  It's exactly what I imagine a medieval city to be.  Years of Dungeons and Dragons come to life.  The streets are narrow and the pubs are snug.  We weren’t the only tourists visiting, but there was plenty of elbow room.  I imagine that during the summer it could be like a bad day at Disneyland.  

I was hoping to be able to pick up a French copy of the game and have Brett take a shot of me with it.  Unfortunately, and inexplicably, with all the game stores in Carcassonne there wasn't a single copy.  Tons of knights, dragons, faerie statues, and other fantasy-based stuff, but not a single copy of the city's game-sake.  Ah, well.  That's what photoshop is for.
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The outside of the Carcassonne wal…
The outside of the Carcassonne wa…
Carcassonne the board game.
Carcassonne the board game.
The witchs hat turret covers we…
The 'witch's hat' turret covers w…
Narrow streets of Carcassonne
Narrow streets of Carcassonne
Cant have a Gothic cathedral with…
Can't have a Gothic cathedral wit…
Em and I in the pub, reading about…
Em and I in the pub, reading abou…
Cassoulet.  One of Bretts favorit…
Cassoulet. One of Brett's favori…
Graveyard outside Carcassonne
Graveyard outside Carcassonne
Graveyard outside Carcassonne
Graveyard outside Carcassonne
Before shot.  Hopefully the after …
Before shot. Hopefully the after…
Carcassonne
photo by: santafeclau