Lured by Princes
When I was in high school, my friend Blair and I watched Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves approximately 600 times. When I learned that the medieval fortress where the movie was filmed was a short train ride away from Barcelona, I threw it in as an option.
We hemmed and hawed about which route to take to reach the Basque Country. The Spain route would have taken us through Zaragoza and into the Rioja wine region and through Pamplona. This route was packed full of potential but La Rioja and Pamplona just seem like places where we should move to, not just fly through in 3 days. The France route offered a visit to my castle/fortress and would include a springtime train ride through the French countryside. An added bonus: we could check out a bit of the French Basque Country (Pays Basque) before re-entering the Spanish Basque Country (Pais Vasco or Euskadi). We chose the latter as it seemed a route more appropriate for a quick 3-day pass.
As a side note, Google just couldn’t believe that I wanted to visit Carcassonne and NOT Carcass Island and even after several searches it insists on auto-populating Carcass Island.
Side, side note, there is apparently a placed called Carcass Island, should you care to visit.
Carcassonne is a huge citadel and a beautifully romantic place to explore. We got a chance to see it illuminated at night and then by day as well. Inside Le Cité there are shops and restaurants and a few small museums. We centered our visit around the opportunity to try the local dish, cassoulet, made from beans, sausage and duck! With a roasted cheese for an appetizer and creme bruleé for dessert – it ended up being one of our top meals of the month….although we had MANY top meals so perhaps that isn’t saying much.
We didn’t have time to do much exploring outside of the fortress, in what they call the lower city, but since it was off season it seemed a lot of things in that area were closed anyway. As with other fortress cities I’ve recently visited, Jaisalmer and Campeche, it didn’t disappoint!