Then we went to… Carcassonne

I love music. Let me clarify, I love listening to music. Most people consider my personal taste in song selections to be “eclectic” at best, and “confusing” at worst. It’s understandable because I’m not picky about genre, language, lyrics or style. A typical playlist can feature the Beatles for breakfast, merengue over lunch and heavy metal before bed. No musical discrimination in our house!

Even as I write this post I’m bobbing my head along to Top 40 hit “Eastside” by Benny Blanco. Have you heard it yet? The song is quite popular in Germany and is in regular rotation on the local radio stations. Give it a listen and I’ll meet you after the jump:


Catchy, no? But what does this have to do with Carcassonne?

Earlier today Spotify served up a song by Lana Del Rey while I put my make-up on. Recently, she’s been in the news because of a controversial decision to postpone a scheduled concert in Israel. And to be honest, I’m not surprised that she’s in hot water.

A few years ago, I went to the Festival de Carcassonne to see her perform for a sold-out crowd. The summertime (sadness, ha!) event was held in the historic open-air amphitheater in the middle of the fortified town.

Looking back, it was memorable for many reasons. The weather was divine, the backdrop was gorgeous, the audience was enthusiastic and …she was late. Like, really late.

When she eventually took to the stage (a two hour delay) L.D.R. appeared disinterested in performing for us and rushed through her set. She lacked any desire to engage with the audience and ignored all applause and adoration. Finally, after a short 45 minutes she waved us goodbye and refused to return for an encore.

Unexpected trip highlight

I wouldn’t classify myself as a big L.D.R. fan. I only went to see her perform because a fellow expat spouse invited me. But even as a casual devotee, it was hard not to feel disappointed by her unprofessional behaviour.

To bring everything full circle, I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I love listening to music. Well, that no longer includes Lana Del Rey’s catalogue. Whenever her songs play on the radio, I’m happy to change the station in favour of literally anything else.

OK, rant over. Back to Carcassonne!

Once the surprise of her abrupt departure wore off, we left the venue and continued exploring the medieval city. After walking around for a while, a scoop of la glace and a bottle of chilled rosé completed the night. And if it wasn’t for brunch the next morning at Hôtel du Château, that’s where this story would end.

Yes, I you read that right. I’m talking about brunch now! It’s the adorably named meal that occurs after breakfast but before lunch. And the offering at Hôtel du Château remains an unforgettable experience …obviously, since I’m still writing about it four years later!

Go to Carcassonne for the citadel, stay for the brunch

It’s easy to find plenty of great travel books and area guides to help you plan your trip to Carcassonne. It’s a pretty village to visit and your instagram followers will love the photos. But in my opinion, make sure you save time (and room in your stomach) for brunch! Expect to enjoy locally-sourced regional specialities while sitting on a sun-drenched patio just steps away from the ramparts.

I know a crappy concert initially brought me here, but what keeps me coming back is brunch. However you choose to spend it, enjoy your time in Provence!

– es