Rennaissance stairway to heaven in Carcassonne.
Well here we are, a little mouthwatering peek at a slice of SallysChateau. The first thing that blew me away was the staircase. Now you can hardly miss this baby can you ? Situated in a Hotel Particulier in the Bastide Saint Louis in Carcassonne this has all the ingredients for a delicious recipe. Built in the early 1700's the house had until lately belonged entirely to the same family for over two generations. The owner, an absolutely delightful gentleman and a sprightly 90 years young has many fascinating tales of life in the days gone by which I hope to be able to impart to you along the way. The absolute ultimate temptation for me is the fact that the apartment has lain 'unmodernized' and thus in my eye's at least untarnished or ruined by insensitive renovations. The house itself and especially the staircase is protected which means that any alteration whatsover has to be passed by the local Mairie. In fact you can no longer do as you please within the town itself for the forward thinking Mayor is trying his utmost to protect this post Medieval town from the blight of replacement windows.
Carcassonne was of course torched by the Black Prince in 1355 as he swept through the Languedoc, these little pearls of information should be dropping easily off my tongue in no time at all. I'm placed two minutes from the Place Carnot the main square, always a place of public entertainment including the guillotine. In 1839 the town council arranged for red wine to flow round the statue of Neptune to celebrate the visit of the Duke of Orleans and his wife. Lets hope we can reinstate this !!
Ten minutes in the other direction and crossing the Pont Vieux over the River Aude will take me to the famous La Cité in which there are some of my favourite restaurants. I've got visions of meandering along the Canal du Midi, also closeby, on my bike or exploring the paths along the river. Mouthwatering shops, cafe's, restaurants, hairdressers, markets, culture, concerts, exhibitions galore all mine for the taking.
So here you find me, sitting savouring my last few weeks in Le Chateau. The weather has been utterly marvellous with temperatures hitting the 80's for half term. The Pyrenees have not disappointed the guests for they rise majestically on the skyline, the deep colour of bruised plums. The vineyards changing their colours into hues of red and gold lay on the ground like a neat pretty crotcheted blanket. It has crossed my mind on more than one occassion that this is a hell of a lot to leave behind to start a new adventure in a completely different environment but His Lordship came up with the answer of course. 'You'll be up every morning trying to take the difinitive picture of La Cité'
He could well be right.