Carcassonne: Jardin du Calvaire (Calvary Garden)

We discovered Jardin du Calvaire (Calvary Garden) located inside one of Carcassonne’s three remaining bastions.  The “Big Tower” (also called the Bastion les Moulins [Tower of the Mills]) was built after 1359 and was part of the walls and fortifications that used to surround the Bastide Saint-Louis (Ville Basse) of Carcassonne.  Located on the Southwest corner of the city, the bastion was later covered with windmills in 1599 to power mills grinding grain into flour for bakeries that would supply the city with “300 breads everyday for the poor.”

Location of the Jardin du Calvaire within Carcassonne's Ville Basse
Location of the Jardin du Calvaire within Carcassonne’s Ville Basse

In 1825 a group formed to create the Jardin du Calvaire within the bastion.  The leader of the group was Canon Cazaintre who is now buried on the site. The garden’s design was created by architect Jean-François Champagne.  Jardin du Calvaire is circled with “Station of the Cross” shrines on its perimeter, has cypress and olive trees and laurels, and  impressive sculptures reenacting the crucifixion on Calvary Hill.  The crucifixion tableau is shielded by trees and cannot been seen from the regular garden; the sculptures can only be viewed after climbing to the top of the small hill in the garden.  There is a small chapel built into the hill that represents the Holy Sepulcher and is illuminated with natural light from the crucifixion scene above.

Chapel within the Jardin du Calvaire
Chapel within the Jardin du Calvaire
Within the Chapel in the Jardin du Calvaire
Within the Chapel in the Jardin du Calvaire

This urban garden is very peaceful with many benches along its paths.  The restful quiet can make you forget that Jardin du Calvaire is situated alongside the major avenue of Boulevard Barbès.

One of Tracy’s favorite things about the garden are its numerous feral, but friendly cats cruising the garden and serving as unofficial “guardians” for the garden.

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4 thoughts on “Carcassonne: Jardin du Calvaire (Calvary Garden)

  1. I will always love these posts about places you and Tracy visit and the history! LOL on the cats. Hopefully your pup didn’t give you the what-for on that!

    1. The interesting thing is Kiara doesn’t consider herself a dog. Petting another dog or cats causes no jealousy because Kiara is a “people” in her mind.

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