After leaving the beauty of the French Riviera, we continued our journey west and then cut inland towards the Occitanie area, formally known as Languedoc. The area is one of France’s major wine producers which was made evident by the lush vineyards that dazzled us on our drive. We stopped off in a quaint village called Monze where we backed onto a vineyard and set up our camping table and chairs in the most scenic spot overlooking dancing butterflies, blooming flowers and a small cobbled bridge with a stream flowing beneath it. This was the perfect setting to enjoy my morning superfood shake before heading to the popular tourist destination of Carcassonne - which is France’s second most visited tourist spot after the Tour Eiffel.
We continued 10km towards Carcassonne, very excited to explore this medieval walled city. Set high up on a hill, Carcassonne’s ancient city and Cité could be spotted from a mile away, and WOW did it look Disneyworld-perfect! It’s collection of drawbridges, towers and medieval cobbled streets would the perfect ingredients to a fairy-tale. Later on I actually found out that it supposedly was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s “The Sleeping Beauty” and, after seeing it with my own eyes, I can definitely see why. We spent the day following the walls of the citadel, “La Cité”, looking out at the view of the new town across the river, browsing the many cute boutiques and enjoying a coffee in the main square.
As the sun started to set, we asked a local for his recommendation on the best restaurant in town serving the traditional dish of the area, the Cassoulet. We were directed to a place called “Restaurant Adelaïde” which, to our amazement, was situated directly under the castle. We opted for an outside table and ordered a set 3 course meal because everything looked so delicious that we found it difficult to decide. I thoroughly enjoyed a tasty salad to start, the famous Cassoulet, a glass of paired wine, lemon sorbet, and a local digestif.
Carcassonne was an experience like no other and I felt like it transported me back to medieval times. It is crazy to think that the old town is still inhabited and people call this place their home.
Next stop, Spain!