We are just into summer and the colors couldn’t be brighter in Carcassonne. Last year for this sunny season the city introduced a rainbow of umbrellas suspended over the pedestrian shopping street and those have returned. Not only does it provide a colorful splash but also some welcome shade from that beautiful and sometimes intense southern France sunshine. Joining these parapluies this year are sails, equally vivid, and hanging above the main driving thoroughfare in the lower city. The good news for those of us without a car is that many of the streets have become pedestrian-only for a portion of each day during this outdoor season so we can admire the artwork overhead without having to dodge vehicles.
But it’s not just the sky above that’s been made a bit flashier. For the last 3 years the city has shared the cost with property owners of refurbishing the fronts of many of the buildings downtown. The vibrant paints might seem out of place for a historic town center but their origin can be traced to medieval times when natural materials were used to brighten otherwise drab masonry walls. My favorite real estate expression here for a fixer-upper is “needs refreshing” and in a city that got its start in the 1200s there’s been plenty of time for egg tempera, chalks, and insect dyes to fade and need some freshening.
At first I was reluctant to include so many of these photos that Bill took but then I saw that the city’s Facebook page has 40 shots and the exclamations we hear from visitors about how magnifique they are, convinced me otherwise. It just brings a smile to our faces and I hope that it does for you as well!