After staying a night near the Pech Merle cave, we headed south to the Languedoc region of France.
We rented a home from Airbnb for a week so that my husband could continue working while also having enough time to enjoy the area.
Our first adventure was to check out Carcassonne. It was the 4th city (after Paris, Strasbourg, and Avignon) to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The area was originally occupied in the 7th century BC and later was colonized by the early Romans. In the Middle Ages, Carcassonne was fought for and won by several different people, including Charlemagne. It later came under French rule in the 1200’s.
We did an english tour of the Chateau Comtal, which I unfortunately heard very little of thanks to a wiggly 1.5 year old. 😉 It was still a nice tour though and we enjoyed hearing different stories about the cite’s occupants (like when Raymond-Roger Trencavel gave himself up as a prisoner during the crusades against the Cathars in order to save his people).
Carcassonne was restored in the 1800’s. The restoration received strong criticism though with many pointing out that he used Northern French styles when redoing the roofs.
Personally, I felt like the medieval city was still amazing to see, even if it’s not restored perfectly.
There was a horse show/jousting going on while we were there, so we checked it out before leaving for the day. They were doing a story about the Cathars, but it was all in French and a little hard to follow. Within the story, there was a jousting tournament and that was pretty cool to see. Our littlest loved seeing all the horses and both girls had a great time watching the show.
For food, Carcassonne is famous for their cassoulet. Right outside the Chateau Comtal, there were tons of tiny cafes that served everything from paella to hamburgers, and of course several variations of cassoulet. I tried one that had duck and lentils and it was really good, although a bit heavy to be eating in July.
We did leave the stroller in the car for the day, as we felt it would have been difficult in the chateau part of the city. Other than that, it would have been useful to have at times, but our girls were doing okay without it so we didn’t worry too much about going out and grabbing it.
Overall, we had a great time at Carcassonne. It really is wonderfully restored and a great place to explore!