Carcassonne! I’ve wanted to see it for so long. Kristian suggested we make that our day trip out of Narbonne, rather than try to take in Toulouse in too few hours. Excellent decision. Very easy to get to – but we were surprised by the prices for such a short ride (about $27 RT). Far better with an annual discount card I’ll get next stay.

We braved the tourist crowds to see the reconstructed fortified city. Beautiful church, stunning walls and parapets of course, but the intense tourism and countless souvenir shops make one visit quite enough, we thought.

We had lunch among the throngs, and of course every restaurant offered cassoulet, which was new to Kristian. What we had lay so heavy on our stomachs, I wonder if he will ever try it again. Unfortunate introduction.

I had wondered about Carcassonne as a place to live, but then read it has cold winters with strong winds down from Toulouse – and cold winters are something I hope to avoid; and it is farther inland, whereas my druthers are to be close to the sea; so I had dropped it from my list.

Yet, when we went down to the partly-walled St. Louis quarter of the city, it was rather interesting. I found free admission to an art museum that I only managed to enter in its last ten minutes, but where I saw enough excellent works to make me want to return. And real estate ads in agent windows showed that city-center apartments can be affordable. Hmm, I thought, maybe I should come back and see what the food markets are like, what the atmosphere around town is like. It’s mentally penciled back in on my fluid list.

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