France 2011: Day Six

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Monday      3 October 2011

Villesequelande to Carcassonne

Exploring Villesequelande. In the morning, Rick and Jenny bike into Villesequelande to buy wine and a few necessities and Mary, Karen and I follow on foot to explore and take photos.

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The road into town passes a walled cemetery; we wander the quiet streets, making a point of seeing the ancient church in the center of town and an elm tree, said to be one of the oldest in France. We take lots of street-scape photos, and I concentrate on the variety of interesting doors and shuttered windows.

Villesequelande Tryptic

Carcassone, here we come. Back on the boat, we set a course for six locks before the day is out. Our final destination is the medieval city of Carcassonne, a trip highlight we’re eagerly anticipating.

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As we draw closer to town and the landscape turns decidedly more urban, I keep an eye out for the ancient walled city-within-a-city high on a hill. (It’s not until later that afternoon, when we’re walking through the “new city,” that I’m finally able to catch a glimpse of the medieval fortress in the distance.)

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Time traveling in Carcassone. After floating into downtown Carcassonne, we tie up just beyond the train bridge, secure the boat, and hit the streets for a twenty minute walk to the ancient city, where we step back in time. Even if the fortified city is a restoration–and in some respects, inauthentic to the period–it’s still impressive. As we walk between the two walls and enter the cité near the church, we have the place nearly to ourselves and in the dusk light, the past is tangible. Inside, the church is dimly lit by candles and stained glass, a breathtaking sight.

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After wandering the narrow streets for a while, we seek out a place for dinner and settle on the unexceptional Dame Caracas, where we have a meal of pork spare ribs and lamb chops. Afterwards, we walk the parapet again, this time under the dramatic lighting that illuminates the fortress after dark. Talk about your spooky castle walk–very cool.

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Clicking on any of the photos above will take you to my Flickr site where you can see more photos from the trip.

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