One fine Friday, I decided to make the trip to see Caracassonne, one of France’s national treasures. An ancient fortified city, it is on the must see list in France. I don’t know why it took me until March to take the two-hour train ride, but it was worth the trip and the 50 euro train ticket.
After months of rain, it was finally sunny in Languedoc-Roussillon and it was the perfect day to wander amidst the ancient city. Tourists flock here, especially in the spring and summer months, so I was lucky to experience Carcassonne without throngs of foreigners.
It was the first time that I visited an actual fortified city and I walked along the top of the wall. Carcassonne has survived many sieges throughout the centuries and has played a strategic role in French history. I felt transported back in time especially in the narrow hallways of the palace that dominates the town’s skyline.
It’s hard to imagine people actually living here. Everything is in stone; and even on a sunny day, it can feel damp and cold to the bone. I guess life as a princess in a castle wasn’t so glamourous.
The doors were all smaller than doors are today; anyone over 130 cm would have been a giant. It’s kind of funny to imagine.
One of the best things about France is how they support young people. Entry into the palace was free for everyone under 26. They recognize that this is a group of the population who can’t afford to pay the exorbitant fees to visit national monuments so every national monument is free. I am adding Versailles to my list of places to go…..