Carcassone, an hour and a half away from Montpellier by train, is a quaint little town that contains a huge medieval castle.
Kate, 4 Minnesota girls, and I decided to be princesses for a day and headed for the castle. It looks like a looming fortress in the distance, sitting on a hill overlooking the town, but it is really just a pleasant 15 minute walk through the actual town of Carcassone. We had a picnic lunch in a park that sits at the bottom of the hill where the castle is, next to a small creek. In French, “faire un pique-nique” simply means to bring a packed lunch. But oh no, us girls from Minnesota and Central PaPa were having a for real picnic on January 30th. We had all sorts of cheese, bread, wine, a medieval castle back-drop, and a rambling brook providing the soundtrack. Quelle chance!
After lunch, we hiked the cobblestone walkway to the castle. The term castle could be misleading; it is really a fortress. It contains its own shops, restaurants, and cathedral. It is everything you think of when you think of a medieval castle: turrets, cobblestone streets…etc. Carcassone = a Ren Faire kid’s dream + Beauty and the Beast. After touring the castle the whole way around, the Minnesota girls had to leave because they’d booked an earlier train. Kate and I walked around an above ground cemetery adjacent to the castle grounds. The cemetery appeared even more impressive because of the huge gray clouds and winds that started to come into Carcassone. All of the tombs had crosses on top of them and the brightly colored fake flowers that people adorned the tombs with stood out sharply against the gray of the cement and the clouds. Oddly, the eerie feeling was one of my favorite parts of the day.
On our way back from the castle, the rain started. Rain doesn’t happen often where I’m living, but when it rains, it comes down in horizontal sheets that leave you soaking wet with an umbrella that the wind turned inside out.
A beautiful day ends with a soggy, train-ride.
Our leftover cookies from lunch managed not to get wet, so c’est pas grave.