Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Friday, August 19, 2022

Carcassonne, July 29-August 1

The fortified town of Carcassonne dates back to the Roman Empire of the 3rd and 4th centuries. The site fell into ruins but was restored at the end of the 19th century by the architect Viollet-le-Duc who was active in many of these types of reconstructions. The Cité (the walled part) is above the town and across the Aude River.

We arrived Friday just after lunch. We found a nice place to moor and made a quick visit to the very helpful tourist office to make plans. Music in the Place Carnot both Friday and Saturday nights, market and then a visit to the Cité on Saturday. Sunday was a day of rest (well, and laundry). 

We were only going to spend the three days because we will be back here several times over the next 2 years so we’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights. Plus, it was a weekend at the beginning of August. All of France is on vacation and things are crowded! In addition, Cathy Jo had twisted her knee getting off the boat when we stopped for lunch in Trebes. She was having a little trouble getting around and we were trying to keep our walking to a minimum so she could get back to normal.

Plus, it continued hot. Daytime temps were still in the mid 90’s but luckily our mooring spot had shade almost all day long so we were able to cope by using our fans and it was cooling off some at night. France, however, was really suffering. There has been almost no rain this summer. Farmers fields are shriveling, rivers are drying out and some villages are having to import water by truck as their water supplies have dried up. It’s really a crisis here.

Friday nights music was an opening act of Bel Avril, two guys making a stab at “World Music”. It was acceptable but not rousing. 

 Not a huge crowd yet.
It wasn’t even dark at 9 pm.

The main act was an American named Keziah Jones. A guitarist, he was billed as performing a combination of funk, rock and blues. We left after two songs. We're not fans.

Saturday morning we were back in Place Carnot for the market. It was a pretty good one with a wide selection of fresh vegetables, meats and the usual sundries. After dropping off our haul back at the boat we were off again, headed for the medieval city. First we stopped off at the Saint Vincent church. Built in the 14th and 15th century the interior was beautiful. Nice tower, too.

Then it was off across the river to the Cité and its imposing walls.

The view from the bridge over the river.

We wandered around the streets of the old town, dodging hoards of tourists and taking in what sites we could.

We went into a pottery shop and did succeed in finding our holy grail for the year; a french butter keeper (search for it on the internet).

We crossed town to check out yet another church, this time the 11th century Basilica of Saint-Nazare and its windows. 

This window in particular, “The Tree of Life,” is amazing in its intricacy.

Then we just circled the walls and headed out of medieval village to a quieter spot for a pizza lunch.

The Saturday nights music was much better. Akim and Janoz, a couple of dj’s, started off the evening, but the headliners were Synapson; two guys on keyboards with a rotating cast of collaborators depending of the song. The highlight was an African singer, Victor Démé. He raised the roof! Our ears were ringing when we left around midnight. Just like the old days!

Just the guitar for accompaniment on this song.

Bonus. The performances we went to are free.

Sunday was a day of household chores and Monday morning we headed out. At our current pace it would take about a week to cover the 40 k to our next major destination, Castelnaudary, home of the famous cassoulet.


  1. Hooray you got your butter dish and a nice one too! P and S xx

  2. Now if would just cool down so any butter we put in there doesn’t turn to ghee!


All of a sudden I'm getting comment spam. I'll have to use Captcha until it gets under control. Sorry...