Porte Narbonnaise, Carcassonne
Of course structures like this main gate have a very important part in the defensive structure of a city. We learned that in a war situation, the wooden hoardings supported on beams fixed in the walls could quickly be installed above the gate and at the top of the towers to improve the active system of defence. The domestic amenities equipping the castle (salting house, water tank, fireplaces) shows the intention to maintain a garrison for some considerable time in case of attack or siege.
However, the Narbonnaise Gate is not only a remarkable construction designed for the art of warfare. The chambers built one above the other on the various floors express all the elegance of Gothic architecture and show the care and attention paid to the traceried windows opening onto the town, to the ribbed vaulting and to the huge fireplaces.
To be honest I'm alway fascinated by history and want to learn all about it. Whenever I saw this main gate with its towers I wanted to know how it was established and why it has these shapes and colours. But just having a closer look also provides some answers. I saw that the two tall twin towers were strengthened by some projections and were linked by a small fort. This fort containing the gate protected by a system of two portcullises. This system of defence is completed by machicolations in the passageway and by slit windows placed at various heights to provide crossbowmen with positions from which to fire out and down. How amazing!
And you also won't miss the bust on the Narbonnaise Towers. Later on in the the walled town's archaeology museum (Château Comtal Museum) we learned that it is a stone reproduction of the original statue that is kept inside this museum.
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.
It's quite clear that the Porte Narbonnaise is the most impressive assembly remaining from this period. We saw the two huge towers, which are shaped like a spike and the entry was barred with a chain. There was a double lock consisting of murder-holes and a portcullis. Situated on the east side of the walled town we faced a complex construction combining various military features with other structural elements designed to give prestige and comfortable living conditions.
The Porte Narbonnaise s a complex structure combining the various elements of the military devices prestige and comfort. And we will faced with a massive bastion, and just inside there is the tourist office.
This is the main entrance to La Cite, walk through the the two towers. In the past the entry was barred with chains.