A zoom meeting attendee recently mentioned that he was visiting Cacasonne and that brought back a flood of memories of my own visit a few years ago. The charming town of Caracassonne is situated in the south west of France between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean seas. Within the town, high up on a hill is a citadel known as the Cite de Carcassonne. It is France ‘s most medieval walled city. The name Carcasonne is derived from a legend of Dame Carcas who bravely defended the fortress against the Saracens. There is a very amusing tale tied to this, which is a story by itself. Climbing up the hill to the entrance, you couldn ‘t help but picture all those swashbuckling heroes, cavaliers and soldiers guarding, defending or attacking this magnificient fortress. With gorgeous ramparts, gargoyles, cobblestone pathways and stunning views from every angle, you can spend hours just gazing in wonderment. It is no wonder that author Kate Moss was attracted to this setting for her novel “Labyrinth”. The city is dotted with picturesque canals,vineyards and natural trails for cycling, walking, picknicking.
Inside the well preserved fortress , there are several shops, restaurants, bars and quaint little museums and stores which give you the impression of time standing still. I had the famous red omelette for lunch, a carcasonne speciality. It was rich,filling and provided the stamina needed for all that steep climbing. I was so impressed by the architecture and preservation of this Unesco heritage site, that I knew I had to paint it. So I burnt off my lunch, climbing as much as I could to get the perfect picture. After purchasing some souvenirs from the colorful shops, we headed back to our hotel, which was fortunately located just across the fortress. After a bit of resting my tired legs, as dusk approached, we headed back to the fortress. The gates were locked, the hordes of tourists were gone, and the fortress shone brightly in a quiet twilight sky. This was spectacular. We were so glad we made the trek back to capture some of this magic. Last picture is my own humble version of Caracasonne by night under a stormy sky.