Carcassonne is a medieval fortified city set atop a hill overlooking the Aude River. Rising against the backdrop of the Pyrénée Mountains, the city is striking not only during the day but also at night, when it is floodlit. Composed of a circle of towers and battlements, turrets and ramparts, with the longest city wall in Europe, Carcassonne is a perfectly restored medieval town. The oldest sections of its encircling wall were built by the Romans in the first century AD. Its name dates to the 9th century, when the city was under siege by Charlemagne.
Dame Carcas, in full view of Charlemagne, fed the last of the city’s wheat to pigs. Charlemagne, thinking the act signified an endless food supply for the city’s inhabitants, gave up and decamped. Credited with saving the city, Dame Carcas’s act led to the city being known as “the virgin of Languedoc” and impregnable.
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