Well, I do, but those details are for a bit later. When we decided to move to Carcassonne about a year and a half ago, we started reading everything we could find about living in the city. There were articles about the cost of living, housing, transportation, shopping, education, entertainment, taxes, history, sports teams, and recreation. As long term users of various types of cardio equipment, one line I read really caught my eye: “Get off of your treadmill and get outside”. The author was suggesting that instead of joining one of the gyms here in the city, you could use the many walking trails that take you along the river, beside the canal, and up through the 12th century fortress and castle above.
My guess is that the woman who wrote those words had read one of the many booklets that the city publishes about the range of opportunities around town. The top photo is the cover of what we might call “Walks Between Nature and Heritage” that take you along riverbanks, past locks on the canal, through Medieval cobbled streets, around the lake, and out into the surrounding vineyards along a Roman road towards an 11th century priory with the Pyrenees in the background. You could spend an hour, the morning, or an entire day on foot or bicycle exploring the sign-posted paths.
Last month Carcassonne was awarded an “Active and Sporting City” designation which is a 2-year recognition that the country gives to municipalities that offer a variety of sports and physical activities accessible to the entire community. There are city-owned gyms, pools, playgrounds, and sports fields all over town with organized activities for children through seniors. A multi-million euro sports complex, about a 5-minute walk from our house, will be opening this fall, and beside it an outdoor olympic-size pool is being transformed into a year-round water park for the entire family.
The walking trails, a few of which we photographed last week, played a role in achieving this award. As you can tell from the lack of leaves on the trees, it’s still winter which is where the treadmill that we just bought comes into play. Although it’s not as cold here as we were used to in Atlanta, when the rain is being blown straight at you by some powerful winds, having an indoor option for exercise is a great idea. Spring starts on March 20 when we will both be ready to “get off your treadmill and get outside.” With views like these that we get to see everyday, who wouldn’t want to?