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.

Les gargouilles de la Basilica of St. Nazaire and St. Celse, Carcassonne

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Les gargouilles de la Basilica of St. Nazaire and St. Celse, Carcassonne

The Basilica of St. Nazaire and St. Celsus is an imposing building situated within the walls of Carcassonne old town  It was formerly the cathedral of Carcassonne until 1801, when it was replaced by the present Carcassonne Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Michel de Carcassonne). It is a grand Gothic building with a large tower and enormous Bishop’s eye built into the west wall. The most notable aspects of this cathedral for me however were the plethora of carvings which adorned both the outside and interior of the church. Built so long ago in more superstitious times when memories of a pre-Christian era had not yet faded and the exterior is covered with grotesque figures employed in strange activities. As with many of the early French churches they acknowledged the pre-Christian religions in their architectural design through elaborate carvings.

The grotesques and gargoyles of this building are something to be appreciated and marvelled at. I got some what carried away shooting them but here are a selection of the images I produced.