Visiting Carcassonne, France. A walled medieval ‘Cité’

One of the most unique destinations on our travels was certainly Carcassonne, France, the walled medieval town (La Cité). It contains some of the oldest structures dating back as far as the Roman times. If you’re looking up Carcassonne there are actually 2 cities side by side. This Medieval one, and a residential one just on the other side of the bridge.

We stayed in Carcassone for 3 nights around the July 14th weekend, which is, in France, their independence day. Carcassonne is one of 2 cities in France to put on the most amazing display of fireworks each year. Paris is, of course, the 2nd, or is it the 1st. People from all over the country travel to this time machine of-a-place to take in the display of lights. We stayed at a darling little hotel, Hôtel du Château, just outside the city’s great wall. Small but very modern and clean with a nice pool to relax by.

The castle-like city is surrounded by double-walled, wall, and in order to enter you must walk through very large medieval gates. I’m not a great historian by all means, but what I’ve learned is that this whole double walled city was built over centuries. What were living spaces for locals, hundreds of years ago, have now become little shops and restaurants, museums and galleries within the city walls. It was amazing to explore every inch of the city and wonder how can someone create something so long ago and still have it here with us. We were able to get amazing views from inside of the castle that has now been transformed into a museum or sorts. Still preserving very ancient sculptures and structures that stood there hundreds of years ago.

The fireworks show was jaw dropping. There is no picture of video that I can show you to fully express the beauty, so I’ll try with words. The staging of this light show extending over one side of the city’s great exterior wall. People gather close to this wall, and far away, as the view could be seen for what I can imagine was miles. Five minutes into the show we realized there was nothing random about this fireworks display, they were in fact telling a story. Somehow, the creators of this fireworks show were able to portray visually, a battle that took place hundreds of years ago on that day, July 14th, that marked the Independence day. Starting out with single blasts, building up to more, then, the low, smoke producing fireworks lit up the wall as if it was on fire an was being burned to the ground. First red, then white. This went on for a good 20-30 minutes. The grand finale, the victory, unleashed a fury of loud and large fireworks all at once, lasting about 5 minutes, the thundering was felt deep inside our chest and we watched in amazement, not being able to feel our own hearts or hear our own voices in our heads. When you thought it was over it just got louder and louder, and suddenly it was over.

I’m truly grateful for this experience and I’m happy to share it with you.

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