You may already have heard about Carcassonne and even if you haven’t I will tell you about this place several times on this blog.
Let’s start today with a few words and pictures on the castle.
It was built on the grounds and foundations of much older constructions (dating back to the 1st Century) in the beginning of the 12h Century (circa 1120) by Bernard Ato IV Trencavel, Viscount of Carcassonne, Albi, Béziers, Agde and Nîmes.
It will stay the possession of the Trencavel family for about a Century until taken by Simon de Montfort by order of the King during the Albigensian Crusade.
One thing that may seem odd with this castle is that it is quite heavily fortified despite the fact that it is built within the walls of an already heavily fortified city.
The thing is that once Simon de Montfort had become Viscount of Carcassonne, not only the city had to keep on being protected, but he also had to protect himself from the local population of the area among whom he was not very popular, having committed quite a few massacres during the Crusade.
Do you know the expression “Kill them all, God will recognize his own”?
Well, he’s the one who came up with it. That gives you an idea of the mood in the area.
The castle and the city remained under the king’s control after the end of the Crusade and during the following Century, until it was slowly abandoned, the area having become peaceful.
Inside the main building one can find a small museum today (mostly of stones from the Middle Ages)
If you want to visit Carcassonne’s castle, know that you can do it year-round. It costs €8.5 for adults. It’s free for under 26 who are EU citizens and it’s €5 for the other ones. You can visit with or without a guide, with or without an audio-guide, and the entrance ticket will also allow you to visit a good chunk of the city walls. For more info, you can check the official site.