Posted by: travelrat | February 15, 2010


Carcassonne: 8th November 2009

After the ‘Gastro Academy’ had finished, we were taken to Carcassonne. We didn’t have very long there; some of our party had to catch a flight to London from Toulouse that evening. We’d already had a busy day with the last cooking session and a wine tasting, and the light was fading as we approached the ancient walled city.

Here, I was struck by a feeling of déja-vu again; it seems I get this feeling every time I go to France. Where had I seen this before? I pictured an armoured figure, shouting from the battlements:

‘Go away, English ka-niggot! I bleu my neuze in your general direction!’


That wasn’t it … (I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail on television the following week). Then, Carolyn mentioned in her article that Carcassonne had ‘doubled’ for Nottingham in Robin Hood; Prince of Thieves’. So, that’s another ‘film location’ to tick off … I already have Old Wardour Castle and Hadrian’s Wall from that film alone.


We did have time for a quick tour of the old town, and I was able to grab some photographs and video in the failing light. Not the best I’ve ever taken, but you can’t have perfect conditions all the time. And, that café in what would normally be a very pleasant and picturesque square, where we met for coffee before we left seemed more cosy and welcoming than ever.

Since I got back, I’ve read several rather negative reports about Carcassonne. The worst of them said the whole walled city was ‘artificial and contrived, and was infested with tourists and tacky souvenir shops’. That certainly wasn’t my impression, but, as I said, we didn’t stay there long, and November is hardly the height of the tourist season. And, could a 19th Century restoration really be described as ‘artificial and contrived?

Before I leave Languedoc, a couple of links for you. First, for Hilary Scott’s article about the Gastro Academy, and … I haven’t actually visited here, but a Languedoc vineyard run by an Irish family just has to be mentioned.


  1. I wonder if you lived there in a previous life and that’s why you feel that connection. It is brilliant that such an ancient city is still standing. How fortunate you are to have seen it!

  2. Thanks for the shout out. 🙂

  3. […] presents Carcassonne posted at Travelrat’s Travels, saying, “A picture and video … not my best, but it […]

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