Today started off with a very brisk walk, we decided to start the day with a cruise along the canal midi. When we left our B & B we had to go back as I had left the city map behind. So by the time we really got underway it was a bit of a power walk to get to the first boat departure of the day. Happily we made it, with time to spare.
The cruise up the canal was very quiet and relaxing, with only the local ducks to break the peace.
The canal midi is actually a part of the Canal de Dex Mers ( the canal of two seas) commenced in 1666 the canals were created to assist with wheat trade, the canals end at the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans. There are 65 locks and the canal de midi is 241 kms long and was all dug out by hand. Today it is used predominantly for tourism and you can hire a boat and travel along the canals for a holiday.
The beautiful plane trees were planted to help keep the walls of the canal stable, you can see in the images that there is a small flat bit along the side of the midi, this was because early boats required a horse to drag them along the canal, so this was the horse path. Now it's used by cyclists and and joggers.
One of the two locks we passed through.
The ancient walled city of Carcassonne
The second part of our day was spent within the ancient walled city of Carcassonne.
The walled city of Carcassonne dates back to pre Roman times. It was strategically an important place and later became an important trading place. As it stands today it is a double walled city and it was considered impregnable. It is definetly what you would imagine a medieval fortress would look like. Initially it only had one wall (during Roman times) in 1067 the Viscount Trencaval decided to further fortify the city and added a second wall and within the city a castle with its own wall including a moat.
Inside the walls the ancient city is alive and bustling, as a huge tourist attraction the city is filled with souvenir shops, restaurants and all manner of shops. With children running down the streets brandishing wooden and plastic swords, it was very interesting. I m glad we visited now in "off peak" season as the streets were busy enough, it would be crazy during peak periods. We did manage to pick up some lovely hand made chocolate.
The view over Carcassonne from the battlements of the walled city.
No post yesterday as we were travelling and it rained all day , so no photos taken.
Back on the road again tomorrow, Destination the Luberon . . . .