A day in Carcassonne and a five-course meal in the Great Room- I think we showed my parents a very good time in southwestern France. We had made it to the chateau, and we rented the whole house next door where we had stayed as volunteers. We were comfortable there and we had our oversized minivan for transportation. Though it was rainy when we arrived, the next morning it was back to the usual sunny, gorgeous weather. We drove to Carcassonne to see the lower city and the mideival walled ‘la cite’. Both areas are really quite beautiful and I’m glad we could visit again. We parked in a lot near the city wall and very close to the impressive gothic Cathedral of St. Michael of Carcassonne (top 2 photos). We also saw this neat building with sundial (above). We walked a similar route as we had our last time here, entering near the Chateau Comtal castle entrance rather than the main entrance to La Cite.
This involves a bit more walking and an incline, making it a little difficult for my parents. We left through the main entrance (above) and felt that would have been an easier route but we hadn’t known. Another nice plaza in the lower city, my parents looking around:
We decided not to enter the Comtal and rather walked around the shops and the Basilique Saint-Nazaire in the walled city. The Basilique is a gorgeous building dating back to the 1100’s on a church site going back to the 500’s.
We had lunch outdoors and walked across the walled city and out the impressive main entrance which we hadn’t seen before. Then we wandered around the lower city back to where we started.
Another treat awaited us. S had invited us to the Great Hall for dinner. We assured my parents that this was far less formal than it sounds and we had eaten there quite casually many times with the kids and the other volunteers. We didn’t realize S had been cooking a special dinner for three of J’s clients. It turned out to be a wonderful evening of wine and amazing food and fascinating conversation with history enthusiasts. We stayed up far too late discussing genealogy, Catharism, iron tools and other topics with an American traveler and two sisters from Australia along with the entertaining and knowledgeable chateau residents and my parents, all there in the centuries-old massive stone building that had countless stories of its own. As the church bells rang that night, I knew it had been a magical time and I am so grateful we could share it with my parents.