Fortress Carcassonne

A fortress up on high standing the test of time. Witness to countless conflicts both blood and gore. This is the hilltop fortress of Carcassonne.

We were driving down south from Perigord, enroute to Provence.

And when you are in this part of France, you cannot miss out on this venerable old dame of fortresses. Did you know that this fortress hails back to Roman times? You see, this is a rather strategic spot and very early in history it was recognized as such. Built over and enlarged time and again by successive regimes, it has evolved to its current 53 barbicans! For those who do not know what a Barbican is – it is a fortified gateway/outpost. A sort of tower flanked by high walls.

You know in medieval times there was much political uncertainty. The nobility fought constantly amongst themselves, treating the common folks as their property to use – perhaps little different from livestock. So this fortress was the scene of many a siege that led to much widowing, orphaning and grief. But over the centuries it became derelict and abandoned.

We are so lucky that it was not demolished in the mid 1800s but salvaged by the local townspeople. Though not all restored to perfect and exact construction of the ancients and medieval times, it nevertheless left us with a monument that links us back to that time in history.

Today this fortress is still inhabited by a small number of folks that are descended from the original villagers. It is a unique experience to walk its cobbled stone streets and imagine how life was like during those sieges.

Explore this fortress with us! And tell us if this will motivate you to make your own journey to this amazing place.

Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

18 thoughts on “Fortress Carcassonne”

  1. I have to confess that I found Carcassonne a huge disappointment. From the motorway it rises majestically like something from a Disney fairy tale but inside it’s way too touristy with every restaurant banging out different versions of cassoulet and shops selling tat. However, some of the villages around Carcassonne are simply chraming and well worth a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There was something called a Barbican in Krakow, and now I know why it was called that. It is awesome that this structure is still standing, dating as it does from so long ago. I guess those times are so interesting to imagine, safe from our modern perspective, but I certainly would not want to have lived in those walls during that era…….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no indeed not! Just like our post on being overworked, the posit is we DO have it better today. Because the grass may seem greener on the other side. But we don’t know what dangers lurk on the other side!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kate Mosse- Labyrinth. Also Sepulchure and one other. It is a trilogy set at various periods of time in Carcassonne’s history- the Cathars, Second World War etc. Very atmospheric. I think there is also a TV series or movie on one of the books.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice! The fortress is truly amazing. And looking around today one cannot imagine why on earth did they need to build such an imposing fortification!
      Oh you have a great weekend too!


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