9-24-08 – Carcassonne, by Jodi
This morning Alain gave us yogurt, fresh croissants, homemade spice breads and jam, coffee and hot chocolate. Francois pulled out his maps and wanted to see our intended route and made some recommendations of things to see along the way as we sat and had a wonderful breakfast at the family table. Unfortunately, we knew we wouldn’t have time, but he was a wealth of information and we appreciated his time. We thanked them both for being wonderful hosts and kept his notes for our next visit. We left with them both waving goodbye to us, just like a Mom & Dad, he he!
The scenic 3-½ hour country drive to Carcassonne was beautiful. Small, hilly towns dot the area mixed in with cow pastures. We stopped at McDonalds to use their Wi-Fi and ended up sharing a Big Mac and fries, we weren’t that hungry after the big breakfast but needed something to tide us over.
We arrive at our small hotel around 3 PM, dump our bags and begin walking to the completely walled old city of Carcassonne, about a kilometer away.
The outside walls are imposing and impressive, making the town appear much bigger than it actually is inside. Big round towers and turrets seem to keep watch over the town. We enter through the main entry gate to small cobbled, narrow streets barely wide enough for a small car. Shops and restaurants fill the buildings with hotels and homes above. One large chateau palace is in the center of town, which we did not enter, we felt it was not worth the 8 euro entrance fee and the limited time as we still had so much to see that afternoon. We strolled all the little medieval streets that seemed to wind around each other in circles.
We found a restaurant that opened at 6, so we decided to try it. We were seated near a burning wood fireplace stove with all kinds of very old knick knacks hanging from the beamed ceilings, creating a fantastic candle lit ambience. We ordered their 3 course plat du jour specials, Terry ordered salad, ham & cheese crepe casserole and I ordered salad, grilled chicken and potatoes, the main courses were grilled right in front of us on the little fire in the fireplace. Our dinners came complete with a big bowl of very rich chocolate ice cream – the whole meal was excellent!
With our full bellies, we walked back to the hotel for rest.