Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Stage 15 Limoux to Montpellier

Today our tour group took a bus transfer from Lourdes to Carcassonne to watch the race pass by this historic medieval walled town in southern France. We then continued on to our hotel in Provence, between Orange and Montelimar. Its a beautifully restored set of stone buildings set in the countryside and the staff have been incredibly friendly and accommodating. For anyone who might be visiting this region I would recommend this as a great spot to stay for a night or two.

The website for Les Mejeonnes is www.mejeonnes.com 

The front entry to the hotel.

Alfresco dining for a beautiful summer evening.

A view from my bedroom this morning.

The visit to Carcassonne yesterday was one of those "Bucket List" days for me. I've always had a fascination with medieval villages and Carcassonne is probably one of the best known, so the chance for a quick visit before the race came by was an added bonus. Due to road closures we had to park the bus about 2 km from the village, so we hot footed it for a quick 1 hour visit before the riders came down the road. A brief selection of photos gives you a good feel for the place.

A quick snap of Carcassonne from the bus as we barreled down the highway. The walled city was built by a wealthy family, Trencavel's, in the 12th century and then annexed as royal property the next century.

There are two principal buildings within the Cite, the original chateau on the top right and the basilica on the left. The balance of the site contained the township, which was ringed by a double wall and moat. The chateau was also walled and surrounded by its own moat and it was never penetrated during an attacking enemy.

A shot of the entry gates behind the carousel, taken from the wall of a large cemetery, which was outside the town walls.

The main entry.

The first line of defence, the external wall.

The bridge across the moat to the chateau. There is a temporary stage and grandstand in the moat after a recent musical festival.

A crossbow parapet on the wall of the chateau.

The basilica. 

The rampart, which leads up from the city gates to the Chateau, and now houses all the retail shops and restaurants. Very similar to the rampart at Mont St Michele.

Oh,.... yes, and the race? We made a quick exit to catch the riders going by. This is the breakaway group, which had a 3 minute lead at this point. They were eventually reeled in and the HTC team gave Cavendish an armchair ride for victory in the sprint finish at Montpellier. The significant thing about Cav's lead out train this year is that Matt Goss and Mark Renshaw are his last two men in the line up for the finish....and they're doing a great job to defend the Green Jersey.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pete, have only just been able to catch up on the last few day's posts ... and Carcassonne has always been on my bucket list having played the "board" game with Jay and Nat many times. So obviously very jealous, but love the pics. Look forward to reading this year's book when you get around to doing it! Love D&G