La Cité Médiévale – Carcassonne

Today marks my second full week in Toulouse, and what better way to celebrate that than with a day-trip outside of it?

This Saturday’s adventure was to the très petite city of Carcassonne – an hour and 10 minute train ride away from Toulouse.

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This group of girls are just as adventurous, fun-loving, wanderlust-driven, and free-spirited as myself; so it’s no wonder that we became instant friends and hit it off from the start. Regardez, we’ve even already started to travel places together. :)

I made another bêtise aka “blogpost fail” and didn’t get any pictures of the three gentlemen who joined us on this day trip (sorry boys, if any of you are reading this!) but we were 11 Erasmus in total. We were asked a couple of times: “D’où venez-vous?” / From where do you all come from? Our answer: “Partout” / Everywhere. Our little group today represented Korea, Brazil, Chile, Estonia, Poland, Italy, and the good ol’ US of A. C’était moi, by the way. Missing a couple of us from the nice little support system we’ve become, but still nevertheless diverse.

As far as sight-seeing goes, Carcassonne honestly isn’t really ideal for that – except for La Cité Médiévale, which is accessible by a footbridge across the Aude. It’s this medieval city that put Carcassonne on our collective “To-see” list, and just so happened to be the one we checked off first.

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As one of the largest fortified towns in all of Europe, Carcassonne and its views were breathtaking. Although, it was a lot colder than my liking. Wind in winter shouldn’t be a thing. There was a chance of rain, though. So it could have been worse.

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Cold wind aside, I couldn’t stop imagining what medieval life was like. Definitely not glamorous or easy, I know. It’s just so amazing to me that something could be so old; and still be standing today. It puts a lot of things into perspective. The US is so young compared to all these places! We don’t have castles! (I just love castles – a return to the Château de Versailles is on my To-See list.)

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So to end this post – and for you all to see that I am eating here, well and adventurously, here are pictures from le déjeuner / lunch today. For 19 euros, we each had a wonderfully-prepared meal that was well-worth the price. The restaurant we ate at was called Au Four Saint Louis. If you are ever in Carcassonne for lunch, particularly in La Cité Médiévale part, I strongly recommend this place. The food was great, as well as the service.

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The majority of us were feeling/are adventurous souls, so our starter course was none other than: ESCARGOT. To deter anyone from not wanting to try it, I kept the covering bread for the picture. Not that it looked gross or anything; just want to keep the mystery for you. It was actually quite delicious. The texture is quite similar to that of calamari. It didn’t even occur to me that I was eating snails…

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Next up, the entrée. This dish is called Cassoulet. It is a very rich, slow-cooked casserole containing lots of meat and lots of beans. It is a specialty of southern France, so it was only logical to order it. In fact, all 11 of us did. It was a real hearty meal, that I feel a lot of manly men would appreciate. And it was an extremely generous portion. I usually don’t like to leave any food leftover, but I could not eat the whole bowlful.

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Finally, my favourite part of the meal: dessert. All the girls, plus one of the boys, chose Crème Brûlée. Not only was it spectacular, it was served still flaming. Oh, it was so amazing. I want to go back just for that.

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Et voilà, day-trip #1: fini.

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