This first tower was in fact the choir of Saint Sernin church, which doesn't exist anymore. The neighbouring tower is even more stranger. It is a big stone block without any window stuck to the wall. The Tour du Trauquet (trauquet is an occitan word meaning small hole) once served as a secret entrance of an underground way ending up outside of the Cité. Hiking a little bit further, you won't miss the Vade Tower, a fortress in itself built in 1250.
But we went on along the walls ... the Lices Hautes bended to the south west and we discovered a group of gigantic towers all dating back from the 13th century. Finally we arrived just in front of St Nazaire Tower. This one is a square tower unlike its neighbours, which are cylindrical. It is moreover one of the four main entrances of the Cité. A few metres behind St Nazaire Tower the path suddenly changed direction and became very narrow and another square tower stood in front of us blocking our way. It was so narrow at this place that the Bishop's Tower is built on both walls. We could touch them stretching out your arms!
Eventhough the entire ancient city of Carcassonne is one huge tourist trap, the Lices Hautes is a place where we could easily walk around and have a good look. Probably not many tourists are interested in this particular spot in Carcassonne. It really amazed me, because it is definitely a historical spot with enough to see and learn.
The Lices Hautes can be found around the south side of the city. It is the space between the two lines of ramparts and it is very braod at this location. Walking in it makes you feel rather small and the row of enormous towers is impressive. We learned that hundreds of houses were stuck here until the beginning of the 20th century. They were all destroyed during the restorations. Immediately after the Narbonne's Gate you see a tower which looks very different from all others : no roof and a large Gothic window in the middle of it. This wide opening on a tower dedicated to defence is amazing, isn't it?
It is quite easy to miss out on this particular part of the ancient city of Carcassonne. I hope to write a tip (and you will read it hopefully) and that you will find it interesting enough to have a look het whenever you’re actually in Carcassonne. When we arrived near the ancient city of Carcassonne we had to park our car. Because we arrived exactly at 10 o'clock (the time the city opens for visitors) we had more than enough space to park the car. Not too much tourists around yet! From parking lot number one we had to climb one small stair in order to arrive right in front of the Porte Narbonnaisse Entrée Principale, on other words the Narbonnaise Gate.
We almost missed out on the Lices Hautes which begins at the Tréseau Tower, the lices here are very wide and bordered with ditches. You'll notice on the walk along the external wall the Vade Tower, a tower which sticks out and looks over the east coast. Our walk continues as far as the Grand Brulas Tower opposite the Mipadre Tower.
One of the things which makes La Cite so unusual is the double-walling. The inner wall was originally Gallo-Roman (you can still see some original parts), the outer early Medieval. The space between is called 'Les Lices', meaning 'the lists'.........where one could practise jousting, archery etc. 120 houses built in Les Lices were demolished during the 19th century restoration of La Cite. Walking round between the walls is rather pleasant (it's about 3km) .......... not too many people, and excellent views.
The Lices, a path between the concentric inner and outer fortifications, offers views within the preserved citadel as well as the lush green countryside and the River Aude without.