Here is the view of the ramparts, entering at the Narbonnaise Gate
We walked along the jousting area between the two curtain walls,
And entered the city near the Basilica of Saint Nazaire (11 - 14 century), where we heard the last bit of a choir singing (the acoustics - and voices - were amazing!
Note the gargoyles (see the close-up later)
I liked the vines on this tower
And the carved arches here
My hair always seemed to photo-bomb... everything!
We headed to the castle (12th century) - this is the bridge across what was a moat. It's solid now, but once was part drawbridge
The castle entrance
Interesting architecture, with the occasional random tourist
The lower city, as seen from the lower ramparts (beautiful day, huh?!)
And the upper ramparts (see the lower rampart at the bottom of the picture? I was up high!)
Inside the castle, there was a museum with many sculptures found during the restoration
We ended our day there with lunch - we both had duck; mine was with fois gras, and way too rich to finish :-(
Then a walk around the shops.
We halfheartedly aimed for some extra strolling around the lower town, but traffic and the map-gods conspired against us. We headed home for a pleasant early evening.
Rick (my navigator) actually dozed off a bit in the car, and I did not freak out :-)
According to the tourism office, Carcassonne's history begins in 1000 BC, in Carsac (just South of the current city). In the 6th century BC, La Cité became a hill camp, and in the first century BC, it was part of the Roman empire's Narbonnaise province. It was part of the Francs kingdom in the 8th century. In the 13th century, it was a Cathar center, and the pope declared a crusade against these Albigensians. It fell in 1209, and became a Senechal's seat under King Louis IX in 1226. It became a fortress on the French / Spanish border, which moved South in 1659. In 1590, La Cité refused to recognize Henry IV as King of France.
It was about 1 1/2 hrs drive from Palavas-les-Flots to La Cité (plenty of Aires to choose from for breaks)
Gas - ~30€
Tolls - 13.90€ each way
Parking - 8.50€
Lunch - 47€
Castle Tour - 8.50€ each