French Fortifications – Carcassonne, France

We were up and about early ready to make our move from Méze. We realised whilst we were watching the rugby the afternoon before 5 UK vans had come into the Aire. We have literally only seen one on our trip so far and then suddenly 5 arrive together, not sure if they were travelling together, we did not get to see any of them before we were back on the road. We had considered Bézier for our next stop, but a bit more research gave quite a few lacklustre reviews and we decided we would rather find somewhere smaller. Next stop had to be Carcassonne, regarded as one of France’s highlights, a well preserved fortified town. It has had strategic importance since Roman times due to its position between Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans.

The sun was shining and hardly a cloud when we left Méze, when we made the turn north toward Carcassonne the clouds started to appear. We gained in altitude from that point onwards to the top of the hill on which Carcassonne was located. It is on high ground and by the time we parked up and came out of Clouline, the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees from the day before 🥶. So on with woolly hats and big coats again for a tour of the old town. We were one of only 2-3 vans at the camper / bus parking, just 5 mins walk into town. There was quite a crowd of people coming in from the car parking and we were jostling for space for photos before long. The fortifications are immense, with an inner and outer walls as it has grown over time. The narrow streets and wood frame houses look very original. All of the buildings inside the walls now though are restaurants or shops plus a hotel now. The newer town Ville Basse, which is still medieval is outside of the defensive walls. It felt a little more theme park like to me because that lack of local residents to moderate the commercialism. However, it is all well maintained and the little restaurants in the ancient building and cafe seating in the little cobbled squares is pretty.

We walked around the town and the outer walls, but the biting wind discouraged us from a paid walk of the ramparts in favour of lunch in doors a quaint restaurant. We saw the famous Cassoulet advertised on many of the menu boards and Kev decided he needed to give it a try. So a leisurely lunch in the warm followed, as the Cassoulet needed extra time for cooking. Kevin confirmed it was well worth the wait.

Back to Clouline in time for England v Tonga, which frustratingly, despite being on top of a hill, we only just had enough signal to watch. A great game though and good to see England back on form, especially as we had started Eddie Jones’ audiobook on the way into town.

Cassoulet – regional stew made with haricot beans

One thought on “French Fortifications – Carcassonne, France

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: