Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 96 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day; cobblestone streets, inclined, even and uneven terrain.
At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, cheese, yogurt, fruits, breads, jam and butter, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.
This area was inhabited during the Iron Age and developed into a trading center. Rome established a colony here in 118 BCE; it later became the capital of Roman Gaul. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was conquered successively by Visigoths, Moors (Umayyad Saracens), and finally Franks who invited Jewish settlement. In fact, Narbonne became a leading center of Jewish learning and culture during the 12th century. Today it is a thriving urban environment on both sides of the Canal de la Robine — an extension of the Canal du Midi — that bisects the city. We’ll set out on foot to explore historic sites and visit Les Halles. This amazing indoor market hosts bakers, bars, butchers, caterers, delicatessens, fishmongers, greengrocers, poultry merchants, and wine merchants.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine, soft drink, water; other beverages available for purchase.
We will set out by motorcoach to the majestic walled city of Carcassonne that was first fortified in the Gallo-Roman era, circa 100 BCE. It later became a Cathar stronghold. We will have time for independent exploration to see and do what interests each of us most in this beautiful city that inspired kings and writers. The upper “old” city is known as La Cité; the lower city — La Bastide — is also known as St. Louis. By the 19th century, it was on the verge of destruction, its stones and other materials being taken for local building projects. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) was a leading French architect who had restored a number of France’s most important monuments. With approval from Emperor Napoleon III, he began work in 1853 on saving and restoring Carcassonne, work that continued for 50 years. Carcassonne today is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, but it is thanks to Viollet-le-Duc that we see this most complete representation of a medieval fortified town. The walls extend nearly two miles (three kilometers) with 52 massive towers. Reboarding the motorcoach, we will ride to Toulouse and check in to our hotel at the airport with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
At the hotel in Toulouse, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of wine, coffee, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.
At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.