Last weekend, the students in groups C and D had the chance to visit the medieval walled city of Carcassonne. The fortified city has two outer walls with over 50 towers that were built to protect the city from attacks. The wooden ramparts that overhang provided protection to defenders on the wall and allowed them to shoot arrows or drop projectiles on attackers beneath. In 1849, the French government decided that the city should be demolished because it had fallen into such poor conditions which caused an outcry amongst the citizens.
You may recognize the name of the city from the famous poem by Gustave Nadaud, about a man who dreamed of seeing Carcassonne before he died:
I’m growing old, I’ve sixty years;
I’ve labored all my life in vain:
In all that time of hopes and fears
I’ve failed my dearest wish to gain.
I see full well that here below
Bliss unalloyed there is for none.
My prayer will ne’er fulfilment know
I never have seen Carcassonne,
I never have seen Carcassonne!
Our students were impressed by the "Hogwarts-like" city and Bella even teared up when we arrived, as this visit was her main reason for choosing to come to Toulouse! After visiting the cathedral and the chateau, the students had some free time for a picnic, ice cream and souvenir shopping. A good time was had by all!