European Adventure 2011 - Day Five: Carcassonne Continued & On To Montauban

Posted by Amy O. , Thursday, May 12, 2011 5:11 AM

Thursday we enjoyed a relaxed morning in the cité, opting out of the 12 euro breakfast (who pays $15 for breakfast?!) and instead enjoying our "usual" (am I getting spoiled or what?) pastry and coffee breakfast at this delightful café.

Then, off to get even better acquainted with the city!  More of the stunning castle & its charming details...

I love the lettering on these signs...

Then we checked out of our beloved room...
...and decided to go for a tour of the château.  I had never done this before.  Actually, I don't think I even knew that this existed.  There is a whole separate part of the city that's only accessible during certain hours and with an entrance fee, which offers you a history lesson on Carcassonne complete with facts & legends, and all sorts of amazing views.  They had audio guides in English and there was a deal for couples!  Highly recommended!


Wishing we could stay for days, we had to depart to make our train.  The trek back down the cobblestone hill was much swifter and more pleasant.
And this train took us - at last! - to Montauban, a city of about 60,000 north of Toulouse where I spent about four years of my life in the early 2000s, learning French and working with the Eglise Reformee Evangelique (Reformed Evangelical Church).  Though many of my friends & acquaintances from there have moved since I left, there were still a core group of people we were going to visit.

One of the families that became dearest to me in my years there was the Maillard family.  Guy & Aline (the amazing parents of seven children) had invited us to stay with them, so we were headed to their place. The second youngest, Méline, was waiting at the station for us with a beautiful smile & a huge hug and it was so fun to introduce Patrick to those who were at the house.  I was thrilled to discover I could still understand everyone and even say things back :-).  We enjoyed a lovely dinner of meats & cheeses (Patrick was thrilled!) and getting acquainted and reacquainted.

Then we went into town for a concert.  Another family I was close to, the Arbaouis, was taking off for the weekend, but their girls were playing in a concert, along with Soline, the youngest of the Maillards, and it would be my only chance to see them.  I was so happy to reconnect albeit briefly, introduce Patrick, and enjoy some beautiful music in the acoustics of a cathedral.

 Violaine Arbaoui & moi
 Maïlys & moi
Jade & moi

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