Next on the agenda was Carcassonne, the castle of my history-loving dreams. Carcassona is the Occitan name of the city, Occitan being the spoken language before the region became part of France a couple hundred years ago. Occitan seems very similar to Catalan, and they’re both Latin-based languages. Anyway, we just spent 1.5 days here, but that was sufficient. Besides the castle and the medieval cite, there is not a whole lot else to see/do unless you have a car and can drive around to other castles and wineries.
I was only disappointed that there wasn’t more information about the Cathars, a fascinating sect of Christians who were deemed heretics by the Catholic church in the 13th century, and hunted down and murdered. This “crusade” was also the beginning of the end of the independence of Pays d’Oc and the beginning of its incorporation into France.
Anyway, the best information source is apparently the Cathar Museum in Mazamet, about 50 km from Carcassonne. FYI. Oh well, I consoled myself with the beautiful chateau and delicious food!