Tuesday, 9th September

We had a very long drive ahead of us today, approximately six hours from Arles to Bayonne with a stopover at the much anticipated castle city Carcassonne. After a quick breakfast we were on the road before sunrise and the view was spectacular. Bec was very excited to find Chateau De Beck along the way. Once the sun came up it was clear we were in for another beautiful day.

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We arrived at Carcassonne mid morning and found a free spot to park all day. The only hitch was that we had an impressive up hill walk – it was both lovely in parts with cobbled walk ways but hard work in the heat.

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The views of the castle on the way up made the hard work worth it, the blue sky, green grass and castle vista was amazing.

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After entering the walled city we immediately came across the Basilica of St. Nazaire and St. Celse, an incredible church with fantastic stained glass windows and very gothic in style.

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Inside the streets of Carcassonne there are a number of market style shops and places to eat, it’s very pretty and has been restored and maintained well.

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We didn’t pay to enter the main keep, however it is essentially a castle within a castle which was never penetrated by enemies at any time. It’s a huge structure, designed for the entire village to take refuge in times of war, and in times of peace it was the main residence of the King/Viscount/Ruler at the time.

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We spent the majority of the day enjoying the city, on the way down the hill heading back to the car the view of the castle was exceptional.

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Our last stop of the day was the coastal town of Bayonne, we left Carcassonne driving along the Spanish/French border. At a rest stop we came across this sculpture celebrating the Tour de France.

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We’d had a huge day arriving late we had dinner and decided on an early night. We’ll enjoy exploring Bayonne and Biarritz tomorrow.

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