Carcassonne, Languedoc Roussillon Region, France, 12/13

January 22, 2014

Driving through the Southwestern part of France, many people had insisted we visit Carcassonne, the largest fortified city in Europe. What struck us first were the impenetrable walls high up on the hill, yet people were driving their cars into the fully walled cité where they clattered by us over the cobblestones. Cars in a fortress? It felt strange.

Carcassonne’s first human trace dates back to 3500 BC. It became important during Roman occupation around 100 BC and the history goes on.

We parked just below the walls next to the church in Ville Basse (lower village) from where we hiked up to the fortress. After touring the palace and meandering through its narrow streets we discovered the local St. Nicolas Market, (It was December 6, St. Nicolas Day.). We ended up at the cozy Le Trouvère restaurant where we enjoyed local foods (yes, fries for an appetizer!), and chatted Spanish with our Catalan table neighbors.

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