Carcassonne Day Two : Bastide St. Louis


Bastide St. Louis is the planned settlement which is separate from the castle and is located on the other side of the River Aude. We had thought that it might be a good place to get lunch, but on the Sunday that we visited, most things were closed and some of the cafes that were open had appalling reviews. It was also surprising just how quiet the whole area was, the streets were mostly empty.


The main square was not a beating heart of excitement. It was laid out in the thirteenth century and it is in approximately the centre of the town, with the information board saying that it’s a “lively place”, although that felt a little aspirational. It was originally known as the Place Royale, but that was seen as sub-optimal after the French Revolution and it was renamed Place Liberte. Napoleon changed it to Place Imperiale and with the restoration it went back to Place Royale. The sign-writers were likely excited by this constant updating of the branding, especially when in 1852 it became the Place aux Herbes and then in 1894 it took its current name, Place Carnot. This was to honour the President Sadi Carnot, who was assassinated in the same year.


Only around a third of the restaurants and cafes were open, with nothing looking overly inviting.


We noticed that a Carrefour was open and we were fortunate as it closed a few minutes after we had left. Here are my authentic French delights, a rather healthy lunch I thought. Well, sort of. We did though agree that we’d better go back to the castle to get our evening meal.