Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Carcassone Part 2: Gargoyles, Angels, & a Sundae

Last week I posted Part One of our trip to Carcassone. To read Part One click here.

Carcassone has many of the things I love about medieval villages: sculpture, religious artifacts, and gargoyles. This post is less about the story of Carcassone and more about the interior images of Carcassone.

These two large concrete heads greet visitors inside where you pick up the audio guide.

I loved this bas-relief sculpture of monks. At first I thought it represented the Seven Deadly Sins…but then realized there are only six characters. Maybe they left off one of them.

This anteroom may have once been a private chapel or prayer room. I was drawn to the large sculpture of the crucifixion.

Crucifixion Sculpture Front Side

Right Front Side

Crucifixion in Center of Sculpture

Back of Crucifixion Sculpture

Mary

Angel

Gargoyles

Gargoyles are my favorite exterior sculptures on European churches. It is always fun to look for the ugliest, the cutest, or the strangest creature. These gargoyles can be found on the exterior of the church on the grounds of the walled village.

Hear No Evil

Look Up

Can you spot the laughing head in the image below?

This guy definitely gets my vote for smallest and cutest gargoyle.

The Cemetery

Outside of the walled fortress was a lovely cemetery. It wasn’t particularly old but it did have some great sculptures. Most of the cemeteries I’ve seen in France have family crypts. All above ground. They remind me a bit of the cemeteries in New Orleans.

Okay, I know cemeteries are supposed to be places of quiet reflection. Yet, when I saw the image below, I couldn’t help but chuckle and think the angel was commanding the person to “Rise, Darn It.”

Finally, no visit to a lovely medieval village is complete without an ice cream break. Even the deserts are presented creatively.

Until my next post.

A bientot.


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Medieval Village: Carcassone, Part 1

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France must be the medieval fortress of Carcassone. Carcassone is a double-walled, nearly impregnable fortress, founded by the Visigoths in the Golden Age. First signs of settlement in this area date back to 3500 B.C.

Legend has it that in 760 Pepin the Short took southern France from the Saracens. Except Carcassone which he could not breach. Pepin assumed the people of Carcassone would eventually starve and surrender. However, Dame Carcas had another plan. She fattened up their last pig and had it thrown over the city’s ramparts.

Pepin and his army believed that if the inhabitants could waste such an animal, they must be well-stocked and ready to fight for a long time. Eventually Pepin and his army retreated. Dame Carcas rang all the bells in the city in celebration. She had saved the city from invasion. And hence the name “Carcas sone” was born: Dame “Carcas rings” the bells.

In 1853 Carcassone was restored under the guidance of architect Eugene Viollet le Duc. It attracts millions of visitors each year. We visited mid-week and the crowds weren’t too bad inside the walled city. Outside, however, on the cobblestone streets, it felt a little bit like Disneyland. Lots of souvenir shops with kitschy gifts. If you can get beyond that aspect, Carcassone is a curious place to visit.

In part one of this post, I’ll share mostly exterior shots.

As you enter Carcassone, you’re greeted by this rather large sculpture of Dame Carcas.

Horse carriage tour. Love the hats. Very chic.

Carcassone on approach

Love this sign near the ticket window. I’m sure this is a necessary reminder on really busy days.

Inner walls and covered walkway

As we walked through parts of the fortress, Eric looked up and noticed these dead birds. Netting had been suspended in various areas to keep the birds from flying down off the rafters. Apparently some of the birds fell or got stuck in the netting and were left to die. Feeling medieval yet?

View of the city from the fortress

Narrow window view

I hear strains of J. Geils when I see the shot below.

“Hey Reputah, Hey Reputah the Beautah, flip me down your hair and let me climb up to the ladder of your love….”

Just what is a whoober-goober anyways?

Can you name the J. Geils song I’m referring to?

Until my next post,

A bientot.