Carcassonne (2011) Revisited

These are photos I didn’t know I had. I found these pictures from a trip that I took to Carcassonne in 2011. I had always wanted to go to Carcassonne – to fulfil a childhood ambition (that my sister reminded me about). It is a fortified French town in the Aude department, in the Region of Occitanie. Early in the year, I found cheap flights and a hotel in a perfect location situated in the old part of the town. This being February, well out of season, the streets were almost deserted.

Carcassonne is a fortified city, located in a strategic point in the south of France, which has been occupied since the Neolithic period. The city itself consists essentially of a concentric design of two outer walls with 53 towers and barbicans to prevent attack by siege engines. The castle possesses its own drawbridge and ditch leading to a central keep. Carcassonne did not disappointed, its imposing and majestic castle walls where amazing.

Carcassonne 2011

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My first trip away this year was in January, to Carcassonne, France. I had decided that I could not feasibly take any more photographs of Liverpool and needed to book flights, and I had always wanted to see Carcassonne.

I was talking with my sister about the trip and she reminded me that our aunt had a panoramic photograph of Carcassonne on her living room wall when I was young, which I would have seen on one of our family trips to Holland when I was a child, which is where she lived. It amazed me how deeply rooted our desires are and how much our childhood dictates to our adult life, even without our awareness; I was oblivious to the origin of my wish to see Carcassonne when planning the trip. I must have seen this image of Carcassonne when I was about eight; had generated the desire to see it and then filed it under ‘must see one day’ – and then forgot it. Carcassonne became the second location on my bucket list of places to see and photograph.

Carcassonne did not disappoint any. The old city is a medieval concentric castle and the terms ‘mystical’ or ‘fairytale’ are worthy descriptions of this picturesque town. A concentric castle is one with walls that surround a central keep in concentric rings and which in turn are surrounded by a moat. The streets are cobbled and the interior of the town has a market square with innumerable restaurants and bars that cater to thousands of tourists from all over the world, in the summer months. In January however the story is very different and the streets were deserted making for excellent photography. Carcassonne is quite near the Pyrenees and in the Languedoc region of France. The temperature was -2, when I arrived but the skies where clear for almost the whole time. This is a selection of the images I took.