First, a pox on the owner of our apartment in Marseillette who disconnected the internet and then left for England. Until we reach our next destination on Tuesday, we will be reliant on finding Wi-fi hot spots which are not so numerous around here. Also a second pox on her for listing that there was a clothes dryer here. In her mind, a clothes dryer is a clothes line and clothes pins. (Not so useful in cold, drizzly weather.) The third pox is for thinking that we want to warm ourselves with a wood stove. What about the fact that we are Americans doesn’t she understand?!
Carcassonne is the main event of the day. Everyone is a little slow out of bed due to being up for hours during the night worrying about the wood stove so we reach Carcassonne about midday. Carcassonne is a citadel with immense double walls and watch turrets. Inside the walls is a city, cathedrals and a castle. But the first order of business is lunch. Maybe today we will find French food!
We stop at a restaurant called La Courtine whose posted menu looks good. There are three prix fixe menus and we choose one which is a typical meal for the region. First is a salad. What a salad! It has duck three ways on it – cured duck breast, foie gras and confited duck gizzards. What is the best? Duck gizzards! They are soft and really, really tasty. The salad is followed by cassoulet. It has wonderful beans, sausage and a duck thigh and leg. And if this were not enough, the dessert is a tarte tatin with slivered almonds, honey and etheral whipped cream. Wow, what a lunch. It is our food for the day.
Thus fortified we check out the cathedral. It is very plain inside. Not really the kind of place that would inspire one to otherwordly thoughts. The windows, though, are beautiful. Next we tour the castle. Unfortunately for some reason, they are not renting out the audio tour. Maybe they are on strike.
After viewing a short video explaining the uses of the citadel from Roman times through the middle ages, we go on the walking tour. The views from the turrets and walls are amazing. One can see why it was impossible to breach the defenses. There is a story of Lady Carcas outlasting a seige by throwing a fat pig from the ramparts to prove that they still had plenty of food after 5 years (even though everyone had died of starvation). Charlemagne gave up and left. Thus the name Carcassonne. We enjoy it immensely but wish that the headphones had not been on strike.
Returning to our frigid apartment, we find there is no internet. We also have a note saying that there will be no electricity tomorrow morning. And in a real time update, they turned off the water this morning and I am writing this blog from a McDonalds in Carcassonne. So probably no blogs for a day or so.