Friday, April 27, 2012



Stop 2 on the tour of Southern France is to Carcassonne! After a few days in Bordeaux, we hopped on the train heading southeast to find ourselves in this terribly historic medieval castle town. It is so cool here.

Basically, about 5 centuries before Jesus was born, some ancient tribes built a little fortress thing on the top of a hill in Southern France. Then, about 3 centuries after Jesus was born, the Romans built a bigger, stronger castle, which was expanded even further in the 12th century, by the French kings and, eventually, St. Louis. There is a lot of history contained within these walls, which is just fascinating. Considering Carcassonne's proximity to Spain, the area has gone between Roman, Spanish, and French rule for centuries. It finally came under permanent French rule in the 17th century, and was restored in the 19th. In 1997, Carcassonne and its incredible castle were named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a massive castle, with about 3 kilometers of walls, and a total of 52 towers.

the Basilica of St. Nazaire and St. Celse

St. Dominic preached here during Lent in 1213!

We took a boat ride along the Canal du Midi--a canal built in the 17th century to link the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Lovely views, even with all of the wind.

one of the locks we went through

The castle is so cool. We are staying in a hotel at the very foot of the hill, so we are super close, and we can see it all lit up at night. I feel like I'm living in the 13th century! We leave tomorrow, but the history lessons will continue in Avignon!

pax christi.

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