As we're only on a short break, this will be our last full day in Carcassonne. So today we will be buying some last-minute souvenirs, and catching up with some unfinished business. But first, breakfast. Which means very large croissants.
Yes, they were good.
Given the medieval history of Carcassonne, you won't be surprised to learn that many of the gift shops/souvenir shops specialise in medieval merchandise - from full-size suits of armour to chain mail helmets to big replica swords.
For this blogger however, toy cows > all of the above. Meet Joyce.
Joyce is named after faithful travelling companion's recent favourite French singer Joyce Jonathan by the way!
But let's get back to darker, medieval times, as portrayed in not one but two small museums within the Cité. One ticket covers two museums, The Museum of the Inquisition and the Museum of Torture take us back through history, to medieval times and the numerous methods of punishment from those days.
Photography of the vile and gruesome exhibits is banned (which is maybe just as well, as they are so stomach-churning!) however the museum is certainly thought-provoking about the evil which the human race is capable of.
On to something a lot more pleasant now. We had taken the public transport version of the 'petit train' yesterday, and had planned to do the tourist version of it today. But on our way we discover this delightful duo.
Confession time: In all our years of travelling to all those wonderful places, we've never done a horse and carriage ride. Until today, when we take a tour around the perimeter of the citadel. There is also an extremely funny moment during the journey when one of the horses breaks wind. Very loudly. Which greatly appears to our collective senses of humour :D
Just one more mention about the cobbles - I wouldn't recommend that you walk around the Cité in high heels. Comfortable footwear is essential when you're dealing with this...
Some more souvenir shopping this afternoon. I purchase a couple of tapestries (which 2 months later are now framed and hanging on my living room wall) as well as a tablecloth and the usual postcards.
The sadness is beginning to descend as daytime turns into night-time and we get ready for our last night in Carcassonne. It's another beautiful, warm night and we eat our meal outdoors in the shadow of the Chateau.
Just as sangria turned up on many a drinks menu, the proximity of Carcassonne to the Spanish border means one more Spanish culinary treat, gazpacho. However, views vary from restaurant to restaurant about whether the cold soup is still in season in mid to late September. The answer tonight is = it's still in season!
After an enjoyable meal, time for a last look at the Cité. It's Friday night, but the place isn't exactly jumping and it's early closing again. We then however discover this place. Behind the walls is a "secret garden", and it's a hip and happening outdoor bar with dance music pumping through the speakers and a distinctly youthful clientele. Not the kind of place we would normally hang out, but a) we're on holiday, b) it's the last night of our holiday, and c) I want one last sangria. So thank you, Le Bar a Vins.
Tomorrow: we leave Carcassonne.