Last Evening in Carcassonne

For our last evening here, we went to a restaurant at a local Ch√Ęteau (which itself was hidden behind trees!)
A peaceful setting and a reasonable meal.

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On the way back, we stopped for a last view of the old city, looking glorious in the evening light with the moon shining above.

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Then a quick stroll by the hotel, and time for bed.

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The Canal du Midi, part 2

Today we went for our scheduled trip on the Canal du Midi – this was on a different boat, and more importantly, going West instead of East.

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We stopped at a small old lock keepers cottage that had been converted into a cafe – made a nice break!
We also went through a lock, but immediately turned around and went back down it again…

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An interesting trip, and quite different from the canal in the other direction.

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After a welcome beer, we walked back to the old city for a lovely lunch in the shadow of the castle.

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Then had an ice cream and caught the ‘road train’ back to the hotel.

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Monday Evening

After our (almost) daily swim, we headed out for supper and found a small cafe that specialised in Crepes and Salads.
We chose a Duck salad and a Salmon Tartare salad – both of which were excellent, washed down with a carafe of local red wine.

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After sharing a blackberry crepe, we then had a gentle wander back to the hotel…

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And a quick look at Carcassonne from the rooftops!

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Carcassonne Again

Having enjoyed the canal this morning, we decided to be really decadent and got a baguette, ham, cheese and a bottle of local wine from the supermarket.
We then had an extended lunch sitting on a park bench in the shade.

Afterwards, we wandered along the River Aude, which was lovely.

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It was tempting to have a paddle, but there wasn’t enough shade, so we moved on. The path took us past the old city:

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and it was soon time for another drink…

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On the way back to the hotel, we passed an open church – pleasantly understated compared to some:

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It’s been really too hot today, so we’re looking forward to a swim as soon as we can muster up the energy…

Not Toulouse…

The plan today was to catch a TGV to Toulouse, where we had a guided tour booked.
Unfortunately, the French Railway is partially on strike, and both our reserved train out and back had been cancelled, with other services running very late.
So we decided to go on a boat down the Canal du Midi instead.

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We went through a couple of locks, which made things more interesting. The lock keepers control the paddles and gates with a remote control box – quite advanced compared to the UK!

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An evening in Carcassonne

As we had had a rather large lunch, we didn’t feel like another meal today, so had a few beers, then found an open supermarket.

We bought a (warm) baguette, some ham and cheese, then eat the lot sitting on a bench in the nearby park. It would have been tempting to get a cheap bottle of rose as well, but it wasn’t chilled…

All in all an excellent end to an excellent day, with a small bonus of Venus and Jupiter almost in conjunction in the clear sky!

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Cycling…

It was our ‘free’ day today, and such nice weather that we decided to hire some bikes and cycle down the Canal du Midi.

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The canal is quite different from UK canals – much larger, with much bigger boats. And of course electrically operated locks, some even with a lock ‘keeper’ sitting in his little hut (though to be fair, this one was controlling three locks).

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You almost needed an umbrella when the lock started to fill – no UK style gentleness here:
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The path was quite varied, some as smooth as pavement, but most a lot rougher. But of course it was mostly flat!
Eventually we came to a small restaurant by a lock, and stopped for lunch.

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An excellent meal..

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and a lock side ‘cabaret’

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Many hours later, it was time to weave our way home:

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All in all, an excellent day, though we’re both a bit hot’n’sweaty and worn out!
Time for a swim later…

Abbeys and Chateaux

Today was a cultural day. We got on our coach to Caurnes Abbey, where a guide gave us an excellent tour of the Abbey and Church.
There was also a large exhibition of Comic Strip which our girls would have loved to have seen.

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Then back on the coach to a restaurant in a tiny village where we all had a fantastic 4 course lunch with plenty of wine.

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Then back on the coach yet again to a Belvedere. A short walk brought us to a good view of four ruined Chateaux.

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The next Chateaux was at Saissac – a steep walk down from the road.

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After a welcome Ice Cream, we went back to Carcassonne on the coach, stopping briefly to take some more photos of the old city.

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Carcassonne Medieval Town

After a reasonable breakfast (but not as good as the ones in Germany last year), we got a coach to the old town.

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It’s high up on a hill, with good views of the main town and surrounding area.

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There is an almost complete outside wall, with shops, restaurants and cafes inside. Also inside is a ‘fairy tale’ castle and a church (of which more later).
We had a guided tour of the town in the morning, which was perhaps more information than we really needed, then found a lovely brasserie for drinks and lunch.
It was really pleasant sitting in the shade watching the world go by – made even more pleasant by the absence of traffic!

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It is very hot today but there has (mostly) been a gentle breeze, which helps keep us cool.
After a lengthy lunch, we had a wander around the town, and had a look in the church.
Cool and peaceful, then a quartet started singing some unaccompanied Russian Orthodox music (sacred and folk) which was really lovely. It’s amazing how much sound 4 men can make, though of course the acoustics of the church helped.

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We then walked back to our hotel to cool down – really glad to have air-conditioning in our room.

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Off for a swim later.