Through another archway and across a second dr moat is the 12th century Château Comtal. Chateau Comtal was built in the 12th-century by Bernard Aton Trencavel. Chateau Comtal was originally the palace of the viscounts but was later converted to a citadel after Carcassonne became part of the royal estate in 1226.
High walls, topped with crenels, towers, machicolations, bartizans, arrow slits. . . if you did not have enough, you can see more at the “chateau comtal” (count’s castle), the fortified castle.
This castle, despite it has experienced almost no fight and battle has undergone many changes and renovations since it has been built by Bernard Aton Trencavel, in the 11th century.
The entrance of the castle is at the end of a stone bridge (picture 1) running over a dry ditch. The castle was built on a former Visigoth fortress of which it kept some parts of walls and two towers on the western side of the Cité, close to the inner wall, above the steepest side of the hill, and on the eastern side are the ditches where you can walk under the walls and see the bridge (picture 2). You already have seen on the previous pictures the wooden additions to the walls, hoardings (picture 3), allowing defenders a wider field of fire; Viollet Le Duc added these hoardings when he renovated the castle, trying to give it its original appearance; the hoardings were there originally, but certainly not the slate roofs on the towers (picture 4); some websites assert the roofs were made with local material (and many copy each other with such an ease, spreading erroneous information), which of course cannot be true as the closest slate quarries are more than 80 km away from Carcassone, and it does not at all correspond to the local construction style; if there were roofs, these were more flat, with clay Roman type tiles.
To visit the castle, you walk over the bridge (picture 5) and pay an entrance fee of 8 Euros. Inside you can visit a museum laid out in some parts of the habitations, and in the yard, displays of medieval military “art”, with reconstructions of battles, types of sieges, etc. . .
Entrance 8 Euros. Open every day.
Built over a Roman house, this was the centre of power in the Medieval Cite. Although it was originally built in the 11th century, it has been altered many times since. There are guided tours available, including around the inner walls, but much of the Chateau is not open to the public. I particularly liked the rather tongue-in-cheek display, which takes excerpts from the many films which have used La Cite as their setting and splices them together rather amusingly (even if you don't speak French). The lapidary museum is interesting, containing Roman and Medieval sculptures as well as the 13th century wall-paintings mentioned in my other tip.
The castle was built in the 12th century and has been modified through the decades.
You must pay an entry fee which entitles you the castle itself and the grounds sourrounding it. There is also an option of guided tours which allows you to go to the ramparts.
There is an enhibition containing many maps and meborabilia related to the Cite.
I really enjoy the tour.
This is the fortress within the fortress, serving as the lord's home and place of worship (see photo).