Our first visit to La Cite was quite an experience . . . and we still haven’t made it past the second wall! La Cite is a double-walled fortress here in Carcassonne and it is quite magnificent. It sits atop a hillside east of our apartment across the Pont Vieux (old bridge). The walls are well over three feet thick and dwarf anyone standing near them. It doesn’t take long for you to start imagining yourself as the leader of an army attempting to gain entry into this fortress.
La Cite has over 3 kilometers of outer wall, nearly 1.6 miles, and we wandered through approx. 500 yards in all on this first visit. We headed over from our apartment about 20 minutes before sunset and approached the avenue that goes up the hill to one of the entrances between the two outer walls. From our vantage point we could see seven of the 52 towers on the outer walls.
The wall was built over centuries and it is apparent even with this first visit that the architecture of the times changed throughout the building process. We noted both romanesque and gothic arches built within a space of a few feet of one another. Overall the outer wall appears very romanesque in design which makes sense since most of the walls were built over the original Roman foundations from approx. 100 BC.
The colors are amazing in the early evening, the sky is very, very blue and the grassy hillside is very, very green which gives La Cite an almost cartoonish feel of color, especially in photographs.
While we were exploring we met a group of people on their way to the round tower to the left of area we were exploring and on our way back home, we noted there were flames and fire spinning and drumming happening in that open turret.
Not a bad first experience.