A few Saturdays ago we went to Carcassonne for our first day trip of the program! This was before France went into lockdown and now I’m finally getting a chance to write about the experience. I started my day by waking up at 7am and took the bus and metro to get to the train station. The public transportation is really good in Toulouse, so it didn’t take me too long to get there. While we waited for everyone to arrive I got a pistachio macaron from the bakery Paul which was delicious! Then we walked to our platform and boarded the train. It took about an hour and the countryside was super beautiful.
There were some locks next to the Carcassonne train station so we watched a boat go through. Then we walked through the city to the castle. It’s up on a hill and we had a really good view of it as we were walking up. We started by walking between the outer wall and the inner wall and learned about Carcassonne’s history. One of the things I learned is that there are special line shaped holes in the walls designed for archers to be able to shoot arrows out of. Their shape and size made it really difficult to shoot an arrow through from the outside. And, the double walls is a defense strategy, if soldiers were able to make it over the first wall, there’s at least 10 feet of clear space to get to the next wall where they could easily be spotted.
Then we walked inside to the city and got some lunch. There are lots of restaurants and shops within the city, and we even saw a car driving on the ancient roads-it looked pretty out of place. After lunch we walked around a bit and got gelato and stopped in a candy shop where I got some nougat for my host family. The last thing we did was walk inside of the castle. There were lots of beautiful views of the city and we learned more about Carcassonne’s history. Carcassonne is more than 2,000 years old! On our way out we stopped by the gelato shop and got some crepes, I got sucre citron which had lemon and sugar. We also stopped in a little souvenir shop to get some postcards. Then we walked back to the train station and headed home. It was a sunny day which was great for all of our walking around outside and due to COVID there weren’t a lot of tourists. I really enjoyed this trip, I got to know the other people on this program better and learn about an ancient city, all while practicing my French!