About 15 minutes from our house was Carcassonne, the largest walled city still in operation in Europe. We headed out to this medieval city to a.) find the princess (and the pea) in the castle for Naomi and b.) see the second most visited place in France, behind the Eiffel Tower. The Citadel sat high above the Aude river and was rather impressive with it's multiple turrets and drawbridge entrance. Once you got inside though, you were made to shuffle through about 100 feet of tourist trinkets ranging from 9 Euro wooden swords and plastic suits of armor to magnets, pencils, and the mannequin in a guillotine. But after you made your way through the Jersey Shore boardwalk portion, it opened back up to normal shops and restaurants. We roamed around a bit and it was here where the ultimate croissant was had. Naomi was in heaven.
From here, we walked down to the modern city of Carcassonne to check out a market. After buying a 4 Euro bottle of wine, we went to the local lunch takeaway shop and bought a couple sandwiches. With wine and lunch in tote, we continued to the Canal du Midi. This is a canal that runs from the Atlantic Ocean in Bordeaux all the way across the country to the Mediterranean. There is a lock system along the entire length which enables people to cruise from one end to the other. But we were not here to rent a boat and cruise the canal. Instead, we rented bikes and road along the path on the side of the canal. First time Naomi was on a bike, she loved it. After about a half an hour, we pulled off the path, found a low rock wall on someone's farm, and ate lunch on it. A couple sandwiches and a bottle of wine with no glasses. Perfect birthday lunch.
After lunch we went back to turn in the bikes and headed back towards home. Someone was coming over to the house to cook us dinner that night and we had to get back in time to meet them.
Next up: France: Part V - Villeneuve-Minervois and Etc.