CARCASSONNE, FRANCE

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As an end of exams treat, Jamie and I travelled to Carcassonne in the South of France to spend some time relaxing in the sun.

I had never heard of Carcassonne until I searched Skyscanner for cheap flights and it popped up. When I read up on it, I was very excited as the images were of a stunning medieval city surrounded by a castle. I instantly booked flights and started looking at Air BnBs.

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The first apartment that I booked looked too good to be true, and unfortunately I was right. After messaging the host a couple of times with no response I began to grow worried as I had paid a good deal of money. I decided to look at the most recent reviews and one had said that the host cancelled the day before they arrived. Naturally, I cancelled straight away and luckily I received a full refund before booking another lovely apartment which actually worked out much better as our hosts were lovely and even brought me paracetamol one night because I had a migraine and couldn’t find an open pharmacy!

This was probably the most chill holiday we have been on so far as we didn’t really know what to do. We spent most of the time just exploring the surrounding walls of the city and on our final day we went on a short tour around the castle (which is free for EU citizens age 18-25). We really wanted to rent bikes and cycle along the canal but unfortunately, the four bike rental stores listed on google were either non-existent or no longer open. This was disappointing but we shook it off as it just means we will have to go back!

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What I loved most about this city is the lack of tourists at this time of year. Everything felt much more raw and we were able to take our time and enjoy exploring more. It also meant I had to scrub up on my higher French skills because unlike in Thailand, noone attempts to speak English and I love that. As a country, we are so ignorant to assume that everyone should speak our language. It also gave us great entertainment when Jamie accidentally said ‘por favor’ as apposed to ‘s’il vous plaît’. Luckily, the waitress didn’t mind and just laughed it off with us. I was no better though as I confidently greeted our bus driver with ‘merci!’. Not one of my finest moments.

On the other hand, what baffled me was the ‘art installation’ currently in place as part of the celebration of 65 years as a UNESCO world heritage site. This installation features bright yellow circles plastered across the walls which are not in any way subtle. Though it does give a cool effect when standing in the correct position, I found it a bit unnecessary and in my opinion, it takes away from the castles beauty. If you are planning on going, wait until this time next year to make sure the installation has been removed!

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On our final evening we went a wander around the city just to watch the sunset. C’était parfait!

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There really aren’t any words to sum up the beauty of Carcassonne so I’ve decided to cut this post short and let the many pictures I took speak for themselves. I’d highly recommend this city to anyone who enjoys sunshine and history.

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Laura.

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