Tuesday 3rd May 2016.
Today was our last full day and, as luck would have it, the sun was out for our visit to the medieval Cite de Carcassonne. Mark and I began the day with our usual Canal du Midi walk and noted a significant increase in the number of moored boats.
We all left the Gite by 9.45 am and were surprised to encounter our first bit of peak hour traffic which meant we only arrived at the Cite just in time for the start of our tour. Mark, Jude and I took the 90 min guided walking tour at 10.30 am whilst Gordon and Astrid wandered the Cite. Although this is considered primarily a ‘medieval’ city its origins date back to the Roman era circa 3rd Century and Audrey, our tour guide, gave us a good overview of the history of the Citadel throughout this long history.
Most impressive was the 11th century Basilica of St Nazaire, whose namesake was a significant early Christian convert from the 1st century. St Nazaire’s Basilica actually had its origins as a Church in the 6th century before a Cathedral was eventually built in the 11th century and this was later conferred Basilica status in the 19th Century.
There were magnificent 13th century stained glass windows as well as a section of the tomb stone of Simon de Montfort who, under instruction from Pope Innocent 3rd, had led the Crusades against the Cathars and was buried within the Basilica/Cathedral for a short period of time.
We caught up with Gordon and Astrid after the walking tour and had lunch together before visiting Carcassonne Castle where we wandered around with audio-guides for the next couple of hours.
The boys went on a bike ride along the canal once we arrived home and the girls spent a couple of hours relaxing before we headed out to dinner.
Our last night’s meal was in at Trebes at Le Moulin; located right on the lock at Trebes. This was a lovely restaurant that served up a spectacular menu for us to celebrate our last night together in France. NB: Carcassonne became part of the French kingdom in 1226.