Sep 28, 2010
For those who haven't been here on retreat before: the medieval Cité in Carcassonne is only 30 minutes from here.
The fortress, which was completely restored in 1853 by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.
About 3500 BC the hill site of Carsac (a Celtic place-name that has been kept at other sites in the south) became an important trading place in the 6th century BC. The town became identified when the Romans fortified the hilltop around 100 BC. The main part of the lower parts of the northern ramparts date from Gallo-Roman times. Skipping on a fair few centuries of history we come to 1096 when Pope Urban II blessed the foundation stones of the new cathedral as a Catholic stronghold against the Cathars. Carcassonne became famous in its role in the Albigensian Crusades, when the city was a stronghold of Occitan Cathars, the people the Catholic Church decided to, to put it mildly, get rid of, premaently.
You can find out more information about Carassonne on the Office de Tourisme website.
Or check out their funny video: