Exploring the Cité
We’d earmarked this morning to explore more of the Cité, beginning with the castle. With complimentary tickets in hand then, we finished our breakfast to be there shortly after it opened at 10am.
At this time of the morning we have the place to ourselves.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like later in the day, when coach parties and other groups fill these streets.
So we are glad to make the most of it, taking the chance to lean over a wall and peer into the funny little raised beds in the moat, now well past their best.
Once inside the castle, my hero and our boy were engrossed in history whereas I was more taken by the visual feast that was there on the wall.
I snipped and snapped here and there, occasionally snipping a bit off the top of the picture I thought I was taking, but hey ho, never mind. I loved the shapes and the way the place was presented.
I felt totally spoiled to see the castle like this – it was almost as though we had a private viewing.
Having mooched around the outer yards, we went inside to begin the self guided tour, starting with a video presentation to learn the background to the place.
Once done with that, we went out onto the ramparts, from where spectacular views could be seen of the modern city and beyond.
There was quite a bit of up and down too.
It wasn’t a bad morning, though the bright sunshine was a little elusive today and there was a stiff breeze to make us pleased of our coats.
Having explored all the ramparts, we felt we’d seen all there was to see and made our way back down again, into the museum.
I rather liked the way the exhibits were arranged in groups here – for example, this wall of corbels, all set side by side.
Another wall had a collection of ornamental stone faces. Spot the family resemblance?
This stone shield had a design which would make a beautiful trapunto cushion (and has probably been made into several such things already)
And the brightly coloured frescoes weren’t frescoes at all, but whatever it’s called when the colour is applied to dry plaster – wall paintings?
The fire escape signs were suitable medieval in style, don’t you think? You know, I’m sure the EU usually insists on them being green and white
Of course, we exited through the gift shop, where a little subversive behaviour therapy was going on in the children’s gift department, where the caption on the plastic Princess plates was “je mange la bouche fermee” and that on the Prince version “Je mets ma serviette sur mes genoux”. Well, can’t do any harm, can it?
I can’t help but think the little princes would rather have their own knights to play with however.
And though I’d prefer the little princesses had a rather less feeble choice, I guess they need to have their pretty ladies too.
By the time we left, it was starting to get busy.
Ooh, seriously busy – the first of the coach parties was arriving. Time to go!
We made our way into the Basilica, just before it closed for lunch at 11.45am.
A trio of Russian singers were making the most glorious sound in there and we stood and listened for a while before deciding that it really was time to go.
We’d planned a shortish afternoon exploring the countryside to the north of Carcassonne, but after a couple of hours out, the weather and our own ennui got the better of us and we called it a day and retired to our comfy hotel with our books and a pot of tea.
There might have been a slice of nougat shared between us, too. We have a favourite, of course.