We headed out in the cold month of January to find our fairytale of a city in France. I wanted to feel like a princess with her knight on a white horse. We found that location in Carcassonne, France. This was a great place to get in our medieval fix. Carcassonne is also an UNESCO World Heritage site and we felt it was worth the two-hour drive to get there.

Our past excursions have been largely about the Roman times in southern France and now we have moved on to the 12th to 15th centuries with our trip to Carcassonne. A medieval walled city on a hill with a castle fit for any princess. The Château Comtal is a castle that dates to the 12th century, and we were able to take an audio tour as we walked through its stoned walkways. We could see the Basilica St. Nazaire from the fortified walls and as far as the Pyrenees Mountains. The views of the “new” city below were also nice and hard to believe it is several hundred years old as well. The Basilica was not open the day we went but the pictures we saw of the interior made us sad to have missed it.

Lunch at the La Taverne du Chateau was one for the books as well. We had the local dish called Cassoulet. It is a bean, duck, and sausage dish. We liked it, but I know it is not the French gourmet dish you would think about when coming to France. We also had onion soup, a delicious desert, a bottle of wine and coffee and our bill was under $50. We have enjoyed the lower prices for meals which helps out the old pocketbook.

We enjoyed walking through this enchanting city and appreciated the small crowds. January is low season here, so we didn’t have to dodge people as we walked through the narrow streets. We have read there are huge crowds in high season in the summer time, and you can feel like a sardine in a can.  The weather was cold with a few flakes of snow, but being from Colorado we are used to enjoying the outdoors in winter, so we were able to soldier on and enjoy the experience.

We did take a tour of the torture museum. We were not impressed with it and felt the one in Rotenburg, Germany was far more interesting and well put together. The one in Carcassonne felt more like a tourist trap, but we still fell into it. There were some interesting pieces and it showed that humans can be very sadistic. I suppose it tapped into my sociology background.

We also stopped in Béziers on our way back home to see the string of nine locks on the Canal du Midi “Les 9 Écluses de Fonseranes”. There is so much more to see in Beziers, but the sun was low, and our feet were tired from the long walks in the hilly city of Carcassonne. Still, not a bad way to end our day.