After our adventure in the Camargue we headed for Carcassonne, a fortified French town in Southwest of France in the Aude department (county). Carcassonne was founded by the Visigoths in the fifth century, though the Romans had fortified the settlement earlier. The fortress was thoroughly restored in 1853 and added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.
We walked inside the walls, stopping to buy candies and a cafe at a very picturesque brasserie. The medieval city, although very commercial and touristic, is very beautiful and photogenic. We stayed until night time and had a very good dinner with typical dishes of the region such as cassoulet (white beans, duck, & pork…very yummy).
The next day we drove to the tiny town of Minerve, which has been selected as one of France’s most beautiful villages. Although a cute village we agree, we’ve seen much better in France. We tasted their local wine and even bought a bottle, and wandered the narrow cobblestone car-free streets. On the way back to Carcassonne, it was neat to get stuck behind the many trucks that were harvesting grapes.
That afternoon, we went back to Carcassonne to explore their stores and streets a bit more and retake some pictures (we found our ISO setting on the camera was set VERY high and produced many “grainy” pics). We then drove East to Aigues-Mortes, back in the Camargue, where we had booked a room close to the very well preserved walled medieval city (complete with our own kitty). We walked around the entire city on top of the ramparts (medieval walls) and enjoyed learning about its history,the views as well as an opportunity to burn off some of the chocolate croissant we had for breakfast. Aigues-Mortes was founded in 1240 by Louis IX, the first king of France to have a Mediterranean port.