Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Arriving in Carcassonne

We make an overnight trip to Carcassonne, about an hour and three-quarters away from Montpellier on  the train.  We made a day trip to Carcassonne last year, but once we saw all the cassoulet restaurants, we realized that we need to come again and stay for dinner!

Leaving Montpellier, we observe the art on the station walls and the buildings around the station.

Decorating the train station

We arrive in Carcassonne at lunch time and, on our way to the hotel, stop in the town square for lunch:  two croque monsieurs, one with salad, one with with frites, and a tart for desert.

Main square

Lunch, desert

Continuing through town to the citadel, where our hotel is located, we pass down gaily decorated streets.

Street decorations

A few parks later, we reach the bridge across the River Aude to the old town and the citadel and castle.

Passing through a few more parks

The castle and the bridge appear

Crossing the bridge leads into the old town at the foot of the citadel, with lots of tempting menus at the street-level restaurants, but we've just lunched.

Carcassonne has been inhabited since the Neolithic period (several thousand BC), occupying a strategically-important site on the trade routes between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.  The citadel, known as Cité de Carcassonne, is a medieval fortress daing back to the Gallo-Roman period (first century BC to 5th century AD) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the exceptional perservation and  restoration of the midieval citadel.

Through the streets of the old town

We approach the citadel and round the corner to the entrance.

Approaching the citadel


Streets and squares inside the walls

Our hotel, the Hôtel de la Cité, is a medieval chateau within the citadel walls.  We check in and admire the views from our room and balcony.

View from our room

Hotel grounds

Heading out of our room, we stroll the streets of the medieval city, observing all the different versions of cassoulet and nougats available.

Strolling the streets

Cassoulet (dine in, take away in a can)


It's still a while until dinner, so we stop our food-admiration stroll and take a spin outside the citadel walls.

Strolling outside the walls

Views of Carcassonne from the citadel

Alongside the castle, just outside the walls, the cemetery hosts an impressive display of tombs and burial sites, with views of the castle and the countryside, including the vineyards of the local wine industry.



Wine maker

It's getting close to time for our cassoulet and we return to the citadel to think about an aperitif and dinner.