We woke up in Marseille the morning of 3/9, and drove with my folks eastward towards the Dordogne region. Along the way, we were very excited to stop at a place I had always wanted to visit, Carcassonnes.
Carcassonnes is a fortified citadel that originally dates back to Celtic tribes hundreds of years BC. It was fortified by the Romans and later heavily fortified by the Visigoths in the 5th century. It had resisted several onslaughts including those by King Clovis and the Franks (6th century), as well as Sarascen (Muslim) armies from Barcelona (8th century). It was an important stronghold throughout the crusades and later in the Hundred Years War.
The fortified city consists of two circumferential outer walls with towers and barbicans, a drawbridge and ditch. The towers were built in phases over a long period. One section of towers is Roman and is notably different from the medieval walls. Smiles heading into the main castle at the main city gate. View from one of the towers. Thick walls. Within the medieval city walls you can now grab some food or a drink at one of the many very French cafes and restaurants. We also got Seth a toy crossbow for his birthday here--a sure winner. The view of the citadel from down the road is quite striking. I was happy to finally get to see Carcassonnes. And the weather was beautiful!