Metropolitan Abbesses Subway Station Entrance – 48° 53′ 04″ N, 2° 20′ 19″ E
Today we leave Paris & travel by train to Carcassonne in the south of France. Carcassonne is almost 800 kilometers south of Paris. The entrance to the subway station is only about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. This is the deepest station in Paris’ entire subway network. Thankfully there were not too many stairs to the ticket area & there was an elevator from there to track level. The ground level entrance is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau architecture & there are only a few entrances of this style in Paris.
Our subway ride to the Gare Montparnasse train station took only about 20 minutes & then we waited another 30 minutes to board our "first" train to Bordeaux St Jean – about 3 hours duration. The station is absolutely massive & extremely busy. Our train was very fast frequently achieving speeds in excess of 300 km/h. It puts Canada’s Via Rail system to shame. We have a lot of catching up to do. The next segment of our train journey to Carcassonne involved a quick transfer to another (slower) train but still very fast & comfortable. We arrived in Carcassonne around 4:00 & took a taxi to our hotel.
Our hotel was located on a small street in an older part of the city with great views of the medieval walled city high on the hill above. After settling into our rooms we walked up to the old city & explored it for a couple of hours before sunset. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site & when you see it it is easy to understand why. It’s like something out of a storybook.
There are two sets of walls surrounding the city. The first set surrounds the main city area & the second set surrounds the main "castle" area.
Once inside the city walls most of the buildings around the perimeter of the inner walls are dedicated to tourism shopping, souvenirs & food services. We were not very interested in shopping, etc. but really enjoyed the architecture.
We are really looking forward to having a much closer look tomorrow (Thursday, September 8).