Monday 26 March  Carcassonne

Got up early today (ish) and after a quick (ish) breakfast we headed off toward Carcassonne, avoiding the motorways. It was a bit slower and longer but soooo much more picturesque, driving through the wine country of la Corbiere. Carcassonne is a large, thriving town along the river Aude and the Canal du Midi. It used to be on the border of France and Spain, until someone moved the border.

A powerful entrance!

On the hill overlooking the main town is the old walled city of Carcassonne, which was started by the Romans in the 4th century. It changed shape and activities many times, being rescued from complete dilapidation by the architect Eugene Viollet le duc, with ambition and imagination in the 18th century and finished by his son in the 19th century.    Lovingly restored to reflect its life through the ages, it is well worth the visit. We walked right round the walls of which there are two, concentric. There are towers from the Roman times and others right up to date, and the only square cross-sectioned tower is the look-out tower at the highest point. Restoration has even included work to show where one of the towers was extended, still reflecting clearly the outline of the old castellations where the new stonework joins.

Look to see where the old meets the new(er). You can make out the castellations.

Lots to see and thoroughly recommended.  Here are some more random shots of Carcassonne just for interest:

The walls are completely restored

After being all history’d out, we went off to find the Canal du Midi, just for a look. There is a tiny bridge on this canal call le pont de Capestang which is used as the measurement reference for boats traversing the Midi. We didn’t find it however a look on the web shows it is near where the canal from Narbonne joins the Midi. A little research shows that while we could get through the bridge, the depth of water (we are told average 1.6 metres) could be a challenge for Wight Mistress’s 1.5m, especially as the bottom of the Midi is rocky (blasted through in places during construction) and the canal depth reduces when the weather is dry. Food for thought methinks.

Now that bridge at the other end looks a bit small 🙂 Let's hope the water drops enough to allow us through!

Locks with rounded walls to help strengthen them against the pressure of the surrounding ground. Straight walled locks had a habit of collapsing.

Arrived back for baguette and cheese for supper as we pigged out at a restaurant in the walled city. A lovely day in the sunshine.

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