Sunday 11th September 2011 Weather:-Overcast/Humid/Rain
A slow start this morning did not see us arrive at the ramparts of the Castle of Carcassonne until lunch time but as we did not have much on our agenda today that worked out OK. I must admit that I was expecting the place to be dressed with some medieval type furniture and art but I was sadly mistaken. The Medieval City of Carcassonne has had an eventful history, with more than 1,000 years of wars and plagues. The kings of France turned Carcassonne into an impregnable fortress designed to allow their soldiers to survive long sieges and fool the enemy, using devices such as fake stairs and trap doors. Carcassonne had in fact fallen into ruin over the centuries and was set for demolition in the mid 1800’s but through the efforts of the mayor and the architect Violet le Duc (who worked on it for over 50 years) it took until 1919 to restore it to its present state. Carcassonne is now claimed to be Europe's most complete example of a fortified medieval city, and they say even possibly Walt Disney's inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty's Castle. The movie Robin Hood, starring Kevin Costner, was filmed here. We spent our time climbing up wooden stairs and down again. Peering through arrow slots in the walls and holes through which they threw rocks out of at their enemies---very interesting!! A little bit of rain sent us scurrying back home and now we are getting geared up to drive to Avignon tomorrow.