Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas in Carcassonne


I'm here.  It's very very different but I already feel at home.  Carcassonne is alive, it's throbbing with vitality, people bustling along the streets weaving their way along the pavements and pausing to gaze into the brightly lit individual shops.  The start of Christmas was heralded by the torchlit procession from La Cité, people dressed in Medieval costume gripping birds of prey and brandishing terrifying instruments of torture.  A band played non stop dance music, people laughed and jostled together as onlookers leant out of windows.  I was amazed at the atmosphere and good humour of the crowd.  No health and safety in evidence here as the flaming torches bobbed up and down.  The crowd surged towards the Place Carnot where a huge ice rink encircles the marble statue of Neptune by the Italian sculpter Barata in 1771.  Dry ice floated out over the square whilst twinkling lights adorned the trees and people sat out in the pavement cafés enjoying the spectacle and soaking up the ambience.

My dear friend Muddyboots had bravely volunteered to fly over and assist with the unpacking and opening of bottles of wine endevouring to have lots of fun along the way.  I'm rather ashamed to say that I had never really played the tourist at all.  Amid exploring the fascinating contents of the attic, which is a story in itself and one that I shall divulge at a later date, we joined the throng in the Saturday market and later hit Les Halles where there is a lively tapas bar with the permanant air of a party.  Feeling in need of a reviving walk later I succesfully managed to steer her past the frighteningly high gaudy Big Wheel in Place Gambetta where the smell of churros mingled with the squeals of small children on Papa Noels train.  We headed out over the Pont Vieux (the old bridge) which links the town to La Cité.  The River Aude flowed steadily and prettily teeming with fish, the ramparts of the castle rising majestically to inspire us as I began to feel rather pleased that life had landed me in this handsome and historical spot.  Deserted of tourists it was completely magical, frosted Christmas trees decked the drawbridge entrance and we sat and savoured the last of the afternoon sun nursing a cup of hot Suchard chocolate.  I became an instant 'camera bore' clicking away merrily thinking to myself what a goldmine of opportunities lay placed on my doorstep with Muddyboots extolling the virtues of weekend holidays.  With my head swirling with Farrow and Ball colours for the apartment I was now being told to plan ahead for my new website.

Bounding now, rather than the initial staggering up the awesome staircase we were greeted by both good and bad news.  The ancient heavy cast iron radiators were heaving out heat, the open fire drew like a dream and we had the key to the cellar, free to explore at last dozens of dusty intrigueing looking bottles.

But oh dear, 'Mr Man' or should we say 'Monsieur Homme' for surely that sounds far more alluring for the sleekest most amiable jet black character cat you could ever wish to meet, complete with a dandy red leather collar don't you know, had completely gone missing.

12 comments:

her at home said...

Oh it all sounds so exciting and cosmopolitan, what a perfect place for a wonderful weekend French break! I can not wait to see your new website and see what delights you have on offer! Good luck with your new and thrilling adventure and keep us informed!!

muddyboots said...

this place is going to be the business, ideal for that weekend away in a beautiful & historic part of France. So much to see, and the all within walking distance.

Pondside said...

You paint an exciting picture - the colour, the smells, the sounds. I can't wait to see your new website!

Elizabethd said...

Do you think you are going to need some people to test out your new holiday venture?!

susan said...

God I've taken my eye off you while I set up my own dream and you've wondered off in the direction of my heart ,save a bit for me.
Susanx

Ange said...

Moi aussi! ANd I'm on the edge of my seat to find out about Mr Homme too!! Pleased to see you're settling in OK; Must pop down and see you one day in 2010 ;-)

susan said...

If you are for real I'm there!

LittleBrownDog said...

I do hope Monsieur Homme has turned up now. He wasn't sniffing about in the attic, now was he?

Your new abode sounds absolutely lovely and I can't wait to hear more about your new life in such a fascinating place. Also can't wait to hear about the attic discoveries... Spill dem beans!

French Fancy said...

I must say your French place sounds a lot more buzzy and exciting than our place over on the west side. I wish you much happiness there and I'm looking forward to finding out more about how you settle in

French Fancy said...

Hope you had a good Christmas. Come on back and tell us about it. Put the bottle down and get on the keyboard.

Sallys Chateau said...

I'll be right back in 2010 !!

no11carcassonne said...
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