Carcassonne is a story-book castle about an hour-and-a-half drive from Leran. Perhaps we'll post some more pictures of the castle itself and give you a little history lesson with it later on. But right now we'll tell you about our lunch.
The cite was packed but luckily we got there early, had a short look around, and settled in to a restaurant for lunch. We sat outside on the terrace under a canopy of umbrellas and Virginia Creeper. The weather was perfect. The photo on the top left was Mathilde's choice, a salad de chevre. Meaning a salad with warm goat cheese. Needlesss to say it was fabulous and Mathilde loved it. I had the classic Langueduc meal, Cassoulet. It is a casserole of white northern beans, a duck leg, some sausage and bacon. Wow. A very heavy meal fit for a cold winter's night. But it was the second day of summer. We had to have some Blanquette, a nice light white sparkling wine from Limoux to lighten the meal. Nancy had the raviolli pictured in the lower left and said it was heavenly. Come to France and we'll take you there.
We wandered around Carcassonne after lunch, somewhat groggily. The town really was full of tourists and we heard almost the first American accents since we have been here. The town seemed to be jam packed with young high-school age kids from everywhere in the States. I heard a young girl complain "I'm so bored". There were tourist busses full of little tiny little folks from Japan and a long, orderly line of old duffers from Belgium. Mathilde heard Dutch voices. It really was a shocker. We aren't in Kansas (Ariege) anymore, Toto. We were smack dab in the middle of one of the mainstays of French tourism. Nancy and I had paid Carcassone a visit in March of 2001 and the place was serene and facisnating. Today was an eye opener and we realize we are off the beaten path here in Leran. Thank Heavens.
Click on the pictures to enlarge and make yourself hungry.