I joined the ambling throng wandering aimlessly up the street. Among the
shops was the small Musée de l`Inquisition which houses instruments
of torture once used by the Catholic church against heretics. The street
got even narrower, curved to the right (another defensive feature) and arrived
at a little square at whose centre was a monument to Jean Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille
(1810-76). He was an inspector of historic monuments and through his campaigning
was instrumental in getting the citadel restored. This sheltered spot is
home to numerous little restaurants which were now starting to serve lunches
to hungry visitors.
little square has a monument to Jean Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille.
is Château Comtal and its main entrance is the small opening
between the two towers on the left.
Beyond the square stood the entrance to the Château Comtal, originally
the Trencavels` palace. Louis IX made various modifications to it and added
a large semi-circular barbican and the wide moat. The château now
houses an archaeological museum with exhibits from the Cité and the
A broad road
ran downhill to the left, past a little park which gave excellent views
of the château. Then more souvenir shops, less tackier than those
seen earlier. Rue St Louis wound its way to a handsome square, at whose
far end was the Basilique Saint-Nazaire et Saint-Celse (the former cathedral),
which dates back to around the tenth century. This is an austere structure
with two tall rectangular towers; the church`s most intriguing features
were the large and hideous gargoyles which gave an air of levity to this
serious bit of ecclesiastical architecture. A young rucksack-carrying
priest and a group of tourists waited patiently in the shade of the walls
for the church`s side door to open.
To the right of the church stood the Hôtel de la Cité, its
ivy-covered walls making it look more "pretty" than "grand".
It was built in 1909 and is on the site of the former Bishop`s Palace.
A souvenir shop stood opposite the hotel and its main attempt to offer
something new to tourists was a machine which encouraged the visitor (in
English) to "Press your own penny into a souvenir design". One
young boy decided to try his hand at this metalworking machine by putting
in a 1 euro coin and a 5 cent coin. He then slowly and determinedly turned
a large handle; this operated the die which squashed and stretched his
5 cent coin into an oval medallion which now bore a relief picture depicting
the outline of the citadel. The lad seemed contented with his handiwork
but I was sure that the European bankers would take a dim view of this
desecration of their currency.
to the list of articles about this country