Everytime someone asked me what I was most looking foward in my trip in France, I had no doubt to answer “Carcassonne”. Although I had never heard about it before the Big Blog Exchange, it needed as little as one google research to make this small town my favorite destination in France. The reasons are simple: as I already knew Paris and its famous monuments, Carcassonne was the most interesting stop in my itinerary. I simply love History and visiting a medieval castle was certainly in my wishlist.
Brazil is a very young country compared to the European countries. Our history only goes back 500 years and the oldest monument there is 200 years younger then Carcassonne fortress. That is the main reason why I love travelling in Europe.
The fortress was built in the 13th century and is one of the biggest medieval buildings in Europe. In the past, it was under the domain of the Cartaros, a religious group that wanted to set up a new Christian Church and were persecuted and massacred by the Pope and the Cruzades. This history is told in every corner of the fortress.
At night, I could watch a movie exihibiotn about this history on the walls of the fortress. I was very lucky, because the exihibition does not happens every night. Although it was in French and in Oxitane (language spoken in this region of France), I could understand better what happend here.
Inside the fortress, there are two builds that worth visiting. The firts one is the Chateau Comtal, a fortress inside the fortress built to protect even more the nobles who lived there. During the visit to the Chateau, it is possible to walk in the walls and see the rooms. The second building is a beautiful Gotich Cathedral.
Outside the fortress is the Bastide, the part of the town that grew around the castle. The houses are also very charming and from the top of a church’s tower you can have a great view of the castle.
I walked around the fortress and the Bastide for many hours, both in a walking tour with a guide and by myself. Then I decided to visit the Torture and Inquisition Museum. They are actually two museus that you visit paying only one entrance. I don’t know why, I though they were made for children, but they are pretty disturbing, actually. The Torture Museum reproduces chambers of torture with dolls, customes, sound effects and lighting – and yeah, it were kind of made for children. But the Museum of the Inquisition displays real torture devices and tells a the history of the Inquisition in this region.
After visiting the medieval city, I took a boat ride through the Canal du Midi.
And as a visit to this region of France is not complete if you don’t try the traditional dish, here is the picture of my first Cassoulet (I like it very much and somehow it tasted a little bit like Brazilian food for me, maybe because of the beans…):