Thursday, 29 September 2011
The summer slips by...
Take today for example. Lunch with the brains behind the informative Languedoc Pages
now running into its successful tenth year. All you need to know about the Languedoc -Rousillon region of France. We kicked off at Cafe Felix in Place Carnot, as always surrounded by a sprinkling of locals who were enjoying the glorious seemingly never ending summer under the shade of the trees. I had promised a tour of la cité but we got waylaid by the Maison des Memoirs and the breathtaking Musée des Beux-Arts, all within five minutes walk of No.11
(currently No.4 on Trip Advisor)
Founded in 1836 by people of Carcassonne passionate about art, history and archaeology and expanded by generous donors the museum soon grew. Today it boasts a rich collection of paintings mainly from the French and Dutch schools. Masterpieces are classified by periods and schools in eight rooms. I had promised my friend to see Carcassonne through the eyes of someone who loved living here and he was not disappointed. We caught the Petit Train which dropped us off at the Narbonne Gate, the well known and impressive entrance into La Cité itself. We walked around the Lices, the space between the two walls and eventually found ourselves in the Basilica St Nazaire which was completed in the first half of the 12th century. Cool and sombre it always impresses and is a sanctuary away from the crowds and the heat. Even in late summer Carcassonne is thriving with visitors who flock to it's rich culture.
Afterwards we sat and had tea on the sumptuous sofa's of Hôtel du Château which lies at the base of La Cité. The heat of the sun made me curl up comfortably and wriggle in contentment.
'You've been neglecting your writing and photography' a far away voice said. I was jolted into the present, rudely awakened to the fact that I had to work. Proffering a rather nice bottle of Chateau Roumanières my friend reminded me that I had promised a series of photographs and articles on Carcassonne. I vaguely recalled the conversation in the depths of the past but got off lightly by protesting that I had been pre-occupied of late. Pre-occupied in enjoying myself said the naughty little voice in my head. 'I'll start them soon I promised' whilst the naughty little voice piped up about my various imminent rendez-vous but I dismissed the thought and it blew away conveniently in the wind.
Afterwards I rode the train home, winding its leisurely way down the narrow road, past the vineyards and through the narrow lower streets of the castle. Finally a sharp turn and a hoot of the horn at the front of the Royal Textile works and across the River Aude on the Pont Vieux. This has to be one of my favourite spots in Carcassonne, who wouldn't be seduced by its gentle charms so close to home ?
I stared at the bottle, I made a few phone calls, I laid it on it's side as instructed for half an hour.
Then I just knew I was ready...