Our first full day in Carcassonne.

Sat 30th April

We woke to an overcast and chilly morning for our first full day in Carcassonne but braved the conditions for an early walk along the Canal du Midi. The plan for the morning was to visit the weekly Farmers Markets in Carcassonne and we set off by about 9 am. It was bleak and a bit wet but we easily filled an hour tasting and buying some cheese and cured meats before walking up to check out the medieval Cite de Carcassonne. The Cite de Carcassonne is a medieval fortress restored in 1853 that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. The Cite is quite large and commands a full day visit and so we planned to return when the weather might be more suitable and, also, early enough so that we can take the 10.30am guided walking tour. We than ambled back down the hill and headed home for lunch and a rest before venturing back out to visit the Fontfroide Abbey in Narbonne, a 40 min drive towards the east coast and Mediterranean. This had come recommended as a place to visit and seemed like a plan given the cold and windy weather. The Abbey of Fontfroide dates back to the year 1093 and its history was impacted by the Crusades, the Black Death and the French Revolution. The name of the Abbey is derived from the words ‘fons frigida’ or cold spring as water was needed to support much of the activity within the Abbey; the forge, the joinery and the bakery. The Abbey was acquired in 1908 by Gustave Fayet who restored it to much of what can be seen today. We spent an enjoyable 90 min or so wandering through the courtyard, refectory, cloisters and chapel before heading home in time for our 7 pm dinner booking. We are trying the local restaurant some 300 m up the road but the weather is so bleak we may still have to drive! When the time came though we braved the elements and walked the short trip along the Canal du Midi to Hôtel-Restaurant Ô fil de l’Ô. We had a lovely meal but Mark and I ran home for fear of freezing 😦

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