If you’ve read the posts over the past few weeks you’ll know that we made a lot of day excursions by car on this most recent trip to Carcassonne. Although we won’t have a car once we move, we did this time because the original plan was to use what has now become our new home town as a base to explore the area to find a place to live. Surprising what you find in your own backyard, so to speak.
Although we spent a good part of the first week in the city, once friends Gaynor and Pete arrived we hit the road. They kindly agreed to be our guinea pigs by renting the house we had signed the lease on to give us first-hand experience of what it was like living there. I’m happy to say that they found the bed comfortable, the hot water plentiful, and the neighborhood quiet except for that one guy who leaves for work each morning on his motorbike at 6:00 AM. Considering that the house is located a stone’s throw (or drop) straight down from the castle above that gets 3 million visitors each year, I think that we can deal with a bit of vroom, vroom!
On the last day we were with them in the car we did a whirlwind tour of 3 towns less than an hour away. Mirepoix was charming and reminded me a bit of the English town of Chester with its half timbered buildings and covered arcade. Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Camon combines everything you would expect to find including an abbey, an arched stone bridge, curved medieval streets, and colorful vines clinging to crumbling rock walls. Castelnaudary, just up the canal from Carcassonne, is the home of cassoulet, the region’s signature dish, and a town that we seriously considered moving to.
That evening we drove back into Carcassonne to drop Gaynor and Pete off at “their/our” house and despite how taken I was by the charm of the villages we had visited all week, this really felt like home.