La Cité - Medieval City, Carcassonne
Wander round the narrow streets inside the fortress of Carcassone in southern France,which is uphill from Carcassone city centre.--This fortified fortress is on UNESCO heritage list.. -Entrance is through the medieval gate in the high walls.
Wander round the narrow streets.inside the fortress of Carcassone in southern France.This fortified french town ,fortress is on the UNESO hertage list--- Entrance through the medieval gate in the high walls.The fortress is uphill from city centre.
The “Cité de Carcassonne” is the town’s main attraction, and a UNESCO heritage site.
The town’s tourism website has this to say...
“Située sur la rive droite de l’Aude, la Cité Médiévale est une ville fortifiée unique en Europe, de par sa taille et son état de conservation.”
Roughly translated, that means it is a fortified town which is unique in Europe, as a result of its size and state of conservation.
We visited on a mid March Saturday, so it was out of season and quiet. I wouldn’t like to do it at a busy time. I enjoyed it. One of the things which has been on my bucket list for a long time - probably since 15 October 1972, when I visited the town to play rugby.
We didn’t bother going into the Château Comptal.
We did go around the Basilique Saint-Nazaire.
On the negative side, it is very touristy.
Address: see below.
Directions: The Cité lies in the southeast part of town. Easy to spot! Well signposted.
The first-time visitor to the Citadel is often surprised to discover that iside it is a living town. You expect to find a castle and fortfications. However having passed the Narbonne Gate you will find yourself in an intricate network of streets full of souvenir shops. antique dealers, bakeries, pastry shops, food shops, restaurants and hotels.
The city teems with tourists who densely captivated its narrow trading streets with an infinite set of souvenirs.
Carcassonne is a fortified French town in the Aude department in the former province of Languedoc.
It is divided into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse.
The fortress, which was thoroughly restored in 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.
The castle is on the hill which towers above the modern city. It is well visible from apart, it draws tourists, inviting to plunge into gray hairs of centuries.
You can watch my 6 min 40 sec Video Carcassonne out of my Youtube channel.
Located at the heart of the Toulouse-Montpellier-Barcelone triangle Carcassonne blooms in the plains of the lower valley. It trully invites you to walk in and out of its narrow and winding streets. Just discover its history, its local cuisine, its wines, or simply enjoy the scenery. From the Bastide Saint-Louis to the medieval Walled City, Carcassonne offers a wealth of monuments to visit and discover !
One of the main squares (at the section of Rue de Petit Puits and Rue de Plo) on which some beautiful and historical buildings are situated, is the natural centre of the city of Carcassonne: a stage for various minor and major events, a reference point, a meeting place and the starting point or destination for walkers who want to discover the city. Historically speaking, the square began to operate in a shape and size similar to what we see today in the early years of the 11th century. It's a joy to be here and enjoy the vibe of the busy ancient city.
Address: Rue de Petit Puits and Rue de Plo, Carcassonne.
Directions: It's one of the main squares - at the section of Rue de Petit Puits and Rue de Plo.
Well, it's worth to have a walk around the Cité without any direction, Carcassone is a beautiful village. Some places still remember us about its Cathar past. These places are:
-The Count's Castle: a fortress inside a fortress,
-The Museum inside the Castle with an interesting collection of Cathar gravestones and other objects related to the Cathars,
-The Cathedral of Saint Nazaire with Simon de Monfort's tombstone inside,
-The ramparts with nice views over the new village. The guided tours are really good,
-The Inquisition Tower. There in the dungeons Viollet-Le-Duc found about 200 skeletons during his restoration works. They belonged to people who were tortured for heresy.
Directions: Carcassone, inside the walls
Carcassone is one of the most beautiful and well kept medieval villages in all Europe. It dues its "pointed towers appearance" to Viollet le Duc, a French architect from the XIXth century who wrongly restored it following the patterns of the medieval villages in the North of France.
Carcassone is very touristy, crowded village and for some people can be a kind of Mickeyland. However this village is a stop not to miss during a Cathar route because it was one of the last focus of Cathar resistance from the Crusaders. Here is the story:
Ruled by the young count Raymond Roger de Trencavel, the village was assaulted by the Crusaders at the beginning of the XIIIth century. After a long siege Arnaud-Amaury, the Pope's delegate and spiritual director of the Crusade against the Cathars, offered Trencavel safe conditions for him and his people if he surrended. The situation inside the Cité was very bad, they were surrounded, water was limited so he decided to accept. Obviously that was a trap and once Trencavel surrended, the Crusaders entered, assaulted the Cité and sent Trencavel to a jail and tortured him until he died. After the death of Trencavel Carcassone was occupied by the terrible Simon de Montfort, who settled there the headquarters of the crusade against the Cathars. You still can see his tomb inside Saint Nazaire Cathedral.
More pictures, this time, the day after; no storm at all.
- Main: Rue Saint-Louis
- Second: Basilique St.-Nazaire et St.-Celse
- Third: Porte Narbonnaise
- Fourth: Walls
- Last picture: Taken from the Port Vieux, therefore, outside La Cité
... but strolling the Citá by Night is greater!
- Main: Main entrance and Pont Levis
- Second: Porte Narbonneaise (main entrance)
- Third: Space between the two walls or "lices"
- Fourth: Rue Cros Mayrevielle
- Fifth: Castle
Note: All five pictires were taken a few minutes before a heavy storm with thunder and lighting, can you imagine, inside the fortified city?
It's like being in the Middle Ages. The Old City, called La Cité was so deteriorated that the French government was about to tear the ramparts apart but finally they decided to rebuilt them in 1.849.
UNESCO World Heritage since 1.997.
La cité, dramacally illuminated at night and enclosed by 2 rampart walls punctuated by 52 stones towers, is one of europe's largest city fortifications.
And this is the 1st wall, where the outer moat under the drawbridge.
And see all details everywhere. . . . . and also make a stop in front of the monument dedicated to Jean Pierre Cros Mareyvielle, the local scholar and historian who initiated the renovation of the Cité; he alerted Viollet Le Duc about the historical, archaeological and architectural marvels the Cité had and deserved to be saved. Carcassone could not do less than erect him a monument (picture 1) at the base of which is a representation of the Cité.
This monument is at one of the entrances of Place Marcou, the place where tourists have a rest under the shade of plane trees, sitting at one of the numerous cafés (picture 2). The locals take advantage of tourism, try to fit in the atmosphere and take a lot of freedom in naming their shops or cafés, like this one (picture 3), a real nonsense, as a trouvère is a northern (Franc) poet and court entertainer, equivalent to the southern, Languedocian troubadour, and a trouvère between “Cathar crosses” is even more a nonsense, but if that drag tourists. .. . well!
Shop signs are here and there nicely designed and fit in the environment (picture 4 and 5), and these little details give some charm to a visit in the Cité.
Like in many very touristy places, you may come across buskers and here I met an interesting one, playing a strange music instrument, I don’t know the name.
This young lady was creating strange sounds of this sort of pan and the attendance was really captivated.
You may see some musicians here and there in the tourist frequented areas, and of course, where you have a chance to meet most of them (tourists) is at one of the entrances, like here (picture 2), at Porte Narbonnaise.
In the crowded streets you can go for shopping, have a refreshment in one of the numerous cafés, and see some beautiful houses, too.
Look for instance at this house (picture 1) hosting a restaurant (Chez Saskia) at a street joining, with corbelling on both sides, gaining space on the streets.
Lots of people pass by this house (picture 2),
Souvenir shops, kiosks, built in old style, there are plenty (picture 3), and the young generation likes to stroll in these places.
Carcassone is a city which changed, of course, and you can see some Renaissance house ‘picture 4), in the vicinity of Place Marcou.
In the afternoon light (picture 5) you can have interesting perspectives in the narrow streets, and look at the houses, but be careful not walking into another visitor.