Like many medieval walled cities, Carcassonne France has a beautiful castle with a moat.
As the story goes, back in medieval times, the town was under siege. The attackers thought by surrounding the castle and the walled city of Carcassone they would starve the inhabitants, therefore simplifying victory. So, the people of Carcassone stuffed a pig carcass with grain and catapulted it over the wall at the enemy. When the invaders saw the fat pig, they assumed the people of Carcassone had plenty of food. They retreated and Carcassonne was safe until the next attack.
The story is true.
At least according to the audio guide we listened to whilst touring the castle.
Now here is the part I have to question, although I hate to question my really smart hubby. On the other hand, history is not rocket science . . .
Hubby thinks that after this successful catapulting of a pig carcass, they named the city Carcassonne. What do you think? Will you dispute my rocket scientist hubby?
In case you are looking for my view, I think the two events are unrelated as I doubt that carcass has the same meaning in French.
Either way, it was a delightful city with an interesting past. It is the first (and possibly only) medieval city we will see in France. Thanks Ally for the recommendation!
The castle was intact and we enjoyed some time inside, especially the still brightly colored frescoes:
Like all medieval cities we have seen so far, there is a cathedral:
And, like most European tourist destinations in August, it was crowed:
And hot (40c=104F):
And much of the old buildings were converted to retail establishments trying to capitalize on the tourist market. Our favorite was called “Real Chocolate,” a store worthy of its name. It was piled high with chocolate sheets and other treats.
All photos on this page © Rhonda Albom 2012
Rhonda’s Tips for Visiting Carcassonne
- Plan your time, you may have to wait a while to get into the castle. At the information desk they told us the ticket line was 1 hour, but we found it to only be about 15 minutes.
- The audio guide made a big difference at the castle, I would recommend it.
- The train outside the walled city does not go into the old town.
- There is no shade at the jousting match, so remember to bring a hat.
- If you travel in August it may be very hot. We know.