My guests left early this morning uttering the words every bed and breakfast owner loves to hear, 'thank you, we had a marvellous stay'. I recklessly dismissed clearing the breakfast table and grabbed my bike and headed off for église Saint-Vincent (the church of Saint Vincent. The tower of this 13th century church built in the typical Languedoc-Gothic style has 232 steps to the top, once there you are treated to glorious panoramic views of Carcassonne. I'm rather proud to say I was the first person to arrive as it opened so was given the task of unlocking the door at the top. For someone who is prone to feeling queasy as the safety of the ground diminishes I did wonder if this spur of the moment idea was foolish.
Some of the narrow stone steps are rather wonky as I tightly gripped to the rail, the spiral of the staircase seemed to engulf me as I realised the only way was up ! But it was all worthwhile, the glory of being the only person and basking in the solitude as I surveyed Carcassonne down below took my breath away. A 365° panoramic view on an early summer morning, sensational ! On the distant horizon the snow lay on the Pyrenees, La Cité nestled snugly amongst the hills, evening time as the sun sets would present a superb photographic opportunity.
I informed the extremely helpful man who was energetically handing out tickets and seemed to be muti-lingual that I would be back. 'Tonight' ? he enquired. 'Sometime soon' I promised.
As I emerged there is the prettiest square in which to sit and catch your breath with vines starting to unfurl and curl their way up the canopy.
I savoured the moment and then energetically pedalled my way back to No.11 through Place Carnot. There seemed to be rather loud piped music and shiny new cars with their boots flung open and men in equally shiny suits strutting about and treating everyone to dazzling smiles.
When I got home I arranged a little collection of my beach stones from Dorset in a bowl of water under the stained glass skylight in the entrance hall.
Life is very agreeable some days....