The problem of digital photography is that you take too many shots when traveling. Although I use to clean out as much photos as possible in the evening of an interesting day there remain enough pictures that I take home. Then I sit in front of my computer and spend hours in selecting the best shots and in "photo shopping" them.
What follows is a continuation of the report about my trip to the cathedrals down south in Cathar land visiting Fontfroide Abbey, Narbonne and Carcassonne.
L'Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Fontfroide
Our group visited this former Cistercian monastery located in a secluded valley 15 kilometers south-west of Narbonne. Together with Pope Innocent III the abbey fought the heretical Cathars who were particularly strong in the region. As many monasteries the Abbey was dissolved in the course of the French Revolution.
|Church and cloister|
|A well kept cloister garden|
|Effective lighting inside the church|
|Peter Kalchthaler explains a reliquary altar|
|A midieval pieta|
The Romans established Narbonne in 118 BC, as Colonia Narbo Martius. It later became the chief city of the Roman province Gallia Narbonensis. Narbonne was located at the important crossroads of the Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul, built at the time of the foundation of the colony, and connecting Italy to Spain and the Via Aquitania connecting the Mediterranean via Toulouse and Bordeaux with the Atlantic.
|Uncovered stretch of the original Via Domitia in front of the bishop's palace|
|Shady promenade along the Canal de la Robine|
|Classical set-up: Pastis 51, water, and ice cubes|
|Cookies formed like Occitan crosses|
|A war memorial showing the Gallic cock|
|Gallic cock from behind eventually announcing PAX (peace)|
|Narbonne's former episcopal palace|
|Impressive construction abandoned|
The Romans strategically fortified Carcassonne around 100 BC and the lower parts of the northern ramparts date from that time. Carcassonne became famous during the crusades against the Albigensians for the city was a stronghold of Occitan Cathars. In August 1209 the crusading army of the Papal Legate, Abbot Arnaud Amalric, forced its citizens to surrender avoiding their holocaust as in the case of Béziers but not their slaughter.
Today with its reconstructed fortifications Carcassonne is a Disney-like tourist attraction.
|Dame Carcas greets the visitor at the Narbonne gate|
|The lower layers of Carcassonne's mighty fortifications |
date back to Roman times
|Basilica of Saint Nazaire and Saint Celse|
|Inside we listened to impressive Russian singers |
selling their album following their brief performance
|Saint Roch again|
|Entrance to the fortress proper nowadays a museum of medieval art|
|Beheaded Pontius Pilate presenting Jesus as |
Schmerzensmann (Man of Sorrows): Ecce Homo
|Jesus risen from the dead|
While the patron was preparing the selection of cheese and saucisson a couple from our group passed by and joined me for the treat although ordering red wine.
|Atelier du Maître where the patron prepares the plates|
|The cheese came in various colors. My plate is in front. The food was simply delicious.|