Name - Cite fortifiee de Carcassonne
Location - Carcassonne
Department - Aude 11
Fee Required
State - Chateau/Fortified City

Carcassonne was struck from the roster of official fortifications under Napoleon, and the fortified city of Carcassonne fell into such disrepair that the French government decided that it should be demolished.


A decree to that effect that was made official in 1849 which caused an uproar.


Click for the Back in Time Article

The antiquary and mayor of Carcassonne, Jean-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille, and the writer Prosper Merimee, the first inspector of ancient monuments, led a campaign to preserve the fortress as a historical monument. Later in the year the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, already at work restoring the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, was commissioned to renovate the fortified city.
In 1853, works began with the west and southwest walling, followed by the towers of the porte Narbonnaise and the principal entrance to the Cite de Carcassonne.
The fortifications were consolidated here and there but the chief attention was paid to restoring the roofing of the towers and the ramparts, where Viollet-le-Duc ordered the destruction of structures that had encroached against the walls, some of them of considerable age.
Viollet-le-Duc left copious notes and drawings at his death in 1879, when his pupil Paul Boeswillwald, and later the architect Nodet continued the rehabilitation of Carcassonne. to finish the Fortress of Carcassonne.
The restoration was strongly criticized during Viollet-le-Duc's lifetime. Fresh from work in the north of France, he made the error of using slates and restoring the roofs as pointed cones, where local practice was traditionally of tile roofing and low slopes, in a snow-free environment. Yet, overall, Viollet-le-Duc's achievement at Carcassonne is agreed to be a work of a genius, though not of strictest authenticity.
Fortification consists of a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers.
We revisited the wonderful fortified city of Carcassonne in August 2010 following on from our first visit.