Monday, November 16, 2009

Carcassonne's HORSE-asel

Medieval Carcassonne is a 13th-century world of towers, turrets and cobblestones. I heard this medieval city was the second biggest tourist attraction in France, behind only the Eiffel Tower. Seems strange to me since I never knew of the place, but I guess we learn something everyday!Before venturing too far into the towers and walls we caught up with our friend Dick at the Festival of the New Wine. With successful grape harvest just completed the town was aglow and local vineyards full of generosity. The festival was full of free samples and jazzy sounds. Even the store mannequins in the windows seemed to be enjoying and celebrating!
Dick introduced us to his favorite vineyards and we caught up on each other's comings and goings. He and his wife, Margaret, live in Limoux, France half the year and the other half in our Atlanta neighborhood. What great fun to see their fabled French life come alive! Unfortunately we missed Margaret by just a couple of days, but we enjoyed dinner with Dick.
Carcassonne in the cool, clear night was bathed in yellow floodlight. We could almost hear the knights and horses from way back when!
The morning didn't disappoint. We entered Carcassonne and bought into the medieval theming - maidens, knights, dragons and all. You kinda have to!
Connor liked dancing all about the medieval wonderland.
As with every good European tourist destination there was a one-of-a-kind carousel at Carcassonne's drawbridge. Or as Connor took to calling them on this trip - there was a 'HORSE-A-SEL' there! But pray tell what kind of kiddie ride stays closed until 3 PM on a Saturday?!?! Connor was not happy and sat miserably outside the gate.
Thankfully the 'horse-asel' gods came just in the nick of time and Connor got a couple turns on the top level of the double decker merry go round.
I am still trying to come up with my overarching opinion on Carcassonne. Certainly a notable spot. And with the deal in the airfare, how could we say no?! But Carcassonne itself is the type of place that once you've seen it, you've seen it. A super pit stop, as you need a couple of hours tops. No doubt the surrounding countryside is beautiful. So if you come, be sure to prioritize time there rather than falling prey to the tourist trap within the medieval walls.

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