Yesterday we spent some time in the medieval town of Carcassonne. It sits on a slight rise above the river Aude, overlooking the valley and mountains beyond. the first historic evidence of this city can be traced back to the 8th century B.C., when it was a simple enclosed town surrounded by an earthen wall. Later it was moved slightly and occupied by various people including the Celtic tribe known as the Tectosage Volques who seemed to be responsible for naming it Carcasso. A lot of history remains between that time and today but it is too much to include in this blog. The buildings have undergone extensive renovation and it is touristy but still interesting with some intact Roman towers and a beautiful church with amazing stained glass windows.
After leaving here we drove down narrow roads leading to an old Cathar castle called Puylaurens. It belonged to Chabert de Babaira, a Cathar who defended it until he was forced to give up in 1256. Later it became part of the defensive system along the Spanish border. The day was gray and misty and by the time we arrived the people at the gate had gone home for the day. An aura of mystery accompanied the misty twilight as Jim and I gazed up at the massive edifice. In the car later I read that it is said to be haunted by a certain "Dame Blanche", which seemed quite apt. When I tried to find info. on this mysterious woman everything was in french!
The drive back to Ceret was beautiful with the odd twilight remaining until nearly seven in the evening.