Posts Tagged ‘carcassonne’


People visiting Carcassonne for the first time may be surprised to see the remnants of mediaeval France still existing in this fortified city. So not only does the background of the Pyrenees give it a romantic aura, but you can also feel that the gates of the Castle are just going to open up and the wicked Baron on his black stallion come thundering out to lay siege on his neighbour’s citadel.
The city has been around for at least one millennium. Buildings belonging to Roman times can still be seen here and you can consider the city to be an archaeologists’ haven. Apart from this, the influence of Spain, France, Rome and even a touch of the Visigoths can be felt in this city protected by the Castle.

There is an apocryphal legend about the city getting its name. In the ninth century, it was besieged by the Emperor Charlemagne. A woman named madame Carcas took her pet pig and fed it well with wheat, right in front of the eyes of the besieging army. This immediately disheartened them, if pigs could be fed wheat, the state of the granaries was pointing to “full” even after a long siege. Charlemagne decided to retreat. What he did not know was the pig was being fed the last bit of food left in the city. Very interesting story, but definitely not true. Carcassonne was named much before Charlemagne and during the Roman conquest more than 900 years before.

This is one city with a fortified castle, in France, because it marked the always warring borders of Spain and France. In the 19th century, the French government decided to demolish the city’s outer walls. Well, that was the time when they were demolishing historic buildings in Paris to make way for wider roads and stylish houses, so one should not be surprised at such a move. Nevertheless, the people of Carcassonne put their foot down and the government had to back down. Anyway, the same person who restored Notre Dame was given the job of restoring these walls which are being visited by you and literally millions of other grateful tourists every year at the moment!

Carcassonne is about two hours run by road from Toulouse. Enjoy a picnic at any of the 50 grand towers of the Fort, looking at the River Aude flowing down the countryside!