Yesterday we visited Carcassonne. It was interesting to see the real city as we’ve been playing the game Carcassonne for years. Early parts of the castle are Roman, but came to look like the epitome of a castle in the 12th and 13th centuries when it was a Cathar castle. I don’t think I knew the origin of the name Carcassonne. Apparently, around 750, the city was ruled by a moorish prince. The city was besieged by a French army (possibly from Charlemagne, but I might have misheard that), and quickly running out of food. Dame Carcas, the ruler’s wife, ordered that a pig should be fattened up and thrown over the walls to give the impression that they had plenty of food to continue to resist the siege. It seemed that the ruse worked and the army left, so Dame Carcas had all the bells rung in the city – Carcas sona or Carcassona – it’s name in the local language Oc.
It’s funny, but with the almost perfect golden yellow walls surrounded by fields of grapes and meadows it really does almost look like the tiles in the game.