Walks in France – travel to medieval Carcassonne
The real epitome of a fairytale fortress. The only skeptical thing is that all this is the fruit of the work of the architect violet Le Duc (1853-1879). And he complain that he did things his own way, not just restore the previous, as it asked for it by prosper mérimée, who during the Third Reich responsible post in Paris and in charge of historical heritage.
Carcassonne since ancient times was a fortress, which who not only served. First the Romans, then Visigoths, then to the Franks. In 759, the year of the Barcelona Saracens knocked out king Pepin the Short. In 1209 Carcassonne, Cathar was taken with the battle troops of Montfort. In the hundred years war devastated the British. But after the peace of the Pyrenees in 1659 between France and Spain lost its importance and transferred to the civilian production of textile production until the development of mass tourism. However, the Shoe factory is still an important part of the urban economy. And fruit, wine and grain – economy of the surrounding villages.
Carcassonne consists of two parts: the Lower town (VilleBasse), where a more modern house the whole infrastructure, and the Upper city (Cite), and a fortress, castle, Church, and other vintage stuff. The upper town stands on a hill above the river and consists of a double ring of fortifications (53 towers, bridges, ditches). The inner ring was built by the Visigoths in the V century, the Cathars in the twelfth century and rebuilt later under Louis IX. The entire complex was included in the UNESCO List EXT.
Travel noteworthy are three objects:
- 1 ) the count’s castle (Chateau Comtal, 6 €) – in fact, local lore Museum with Roman sculptures;
- 2) Basilica of Saint-Nazaire (Basilique St Nazaire) the Romanesque-Gothic style (XI-XIV century) with a very valuable stained glass Windows and organ. It may have buried the terrible Simon de Montfort (exactly is unknown);
- 3) the middle ages Museum (Musee Memoires du Moyen-Age, 5 €) – layouts Carcassonne three historical periods, arrows, helmets, crossbows, and with a certain element of kitsch, as a lot of it is just plastic. And there’s another old cemetery right immediately after entering the city through the gate near the Parking lot.
In the Lower city, where tourists usually stay, of course, less. There’s no way around the Old bridge (Pont Vieux) of the XIV century, which connects the two parts of the city and on which stands the statue of the Madonna. Popular cities Marengo (PontMarengo) through the South channel at the station. The building is mainly nineteenth century, is the Cathedral of Saint Michel and the Church of Saint-Vincent (XIIIth century), the covered market and the Neptune fountain on place Carnot (XVIII century), who was so admired by Balzac and Stendhal. Carcassonne is the centre of the Aude Department and lives mainly due to tourism (3 million tourists per year). The city is filled with souvenir shops, but prices have dray, and the product is mediocre.
Carcassonne is situated on the high road between the Languedoc and Aquitaine, so here stops a lot of trains (from Toulouse, 1 hour from Montpellier 2 hours, the ticket – 15-20 €). Hotels the situation is tense, they are mainly in the Lower town: Hotel hotel Montsegur (Allee d Iena, No. 27, 70-90 €), Hotel Du Pont Vieux near the Old bridge (50 € and 7 € for Breakfast). In the Upper town from the station there is a bus № 2. Have to go walk half an hour across the bridge, but the ambush is that you go to the back gate. The main gate is Porte Narbonnaise located on the other side, and they are just tourist office. The city stands on the banks of the river Aude and the canal du MIDI. On the channel you can go by boat.
There are still Cavier lake (Lac de la Cavayere), artificially created in 1988 and is also known as Carcassonne Beach (Carcassonne Plage). In addition to bathing, popular boats, picnics and Golf. Sometimes a swimming lake close. The special charm of Carcassonne becomes night, when all the medieval charm of the richly illuminated. Summer night festivals in July – more a routine than a holiday. Concerts, dances around town. July 14 – magprazdnik second splendor after the Paris parade on the Champs Elysees. Fireworks at 22.30 – its climax. And the constant playing medieval battles.