After spending the night in Toulouse, we caught a train to Carcassonne, its a place having a lot of reconstruction done. It reminded me a little of Christchurch city centre (apart from its size). There are roadworks, new pavements being put in, and you did need to watch your footing a bit. However we found our way to the town square, and a lovely cafe.
We had a couple of hours to look about while waiting for my cousin Nigel. met us to drive to his home at a small village called Montazels, along the Aude River. With the Pyrenees as a backdrop, and the river by our side, it is just beautiful. I could easily live here, in the french countryside. Their home, Maison Loli has amazing views from every window over the three floors.
The top photo is me looking out from the top balcony (our bedroom window). The one immediately beneath is the lounge on the second floor. I took this to show the beams running through. They are 17th century!
After lunch we drove to the place on the hill, Rennes-le-Chateau where we spent some time. A young priest had arrived in the village and over the next few years built a magnificent area, known as Sauniere’s Domain. This comprised of the Villa Bethany, Magdala Tower and a glazed orangery set in formal gardens. He renovated the modest church of St Mary Magdalene. He is buried there. It has the honour of being the place the Da Vinci code was written about. The museum forms part of it and shows his rooms, and we were allowed to walk the winding staircase up to the top. Even the gardens are ‘walled’.
From there we were taken to a place where there are remains of an Abbey. Alet les Bains. The music playing at this place was lovely too. Its so hard to really photograph everything!! People live around – and its easy to imagine horses and people from years ago ,,, ready for the fight!