Shopping in Carcassonne
Felix El Hage went to Carcassonne with €100 spending money. Here’s what he bought.
1 HUMOROUS RED-AND-WHITE STREET SIGN
This random, faux-metal street sign reads: “Je stop la clope demain.” Perfect for sticking on your kitchen wall along with all your other pledges, it translates as: “I’m quitting smoking tomorrow.” Well, it’s a common phrase, but kind of appropriate down in the southwest of France, since most of the locals I met in Carcassonne all smoke like chimneys!
2 SOUVENIR KNIGHT MODEL
Any medieval town where lords and ladies of the castle once ruled, and knights roamed the lands, is worth a souvenir or two in our opinion. So what better gift than a model of a local jouster in full armour, bearing a shield with Carcassonne’s colourful coat of arms. Something for the children to play with when you get back home. Castle not included.
Castle not included.
3 OLIVE OIL DISPENSER
This decorative vessel features Carcassonne’s famous La Cité (medieval city) printed on it, so you can savour your memories of the town.
4 JACQUES FISSELIER VIOLET LIQUEUR
The house of Jacques Fisselier, liqueur and fine alcohol purveyor, is known for its luxurious drinks the world over. The Petites Douceurs (“little softnesses”) range includes this violet liqueur, which tastes as you’d expect – like alcoholic flower juice. Not bad at all. Visit
5 YVES THURIES CHOCOLATES
Master chocolate maker Yves Thuries made his first gourmet chocolates in 1968 in the southwest of France, and by 1976 had won the coveted “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” award twice for his confectionery creations. Today he is a hero in the area, and Carcassonne houses one of his numerous stores. This luxury selection was just too good not to buy.
6 POSTCARDS, MAP AND CITY GUIDE
Some postcards to send home, a local map and a detailed colour guide are all essential when you’re in a town with one of the best-preserved fortified medieval cities and fortresses in the world.
€1.75, €6.60, €5.90
7 PROVENCAL LAVENDER SOAP
Another local favorite in the southwest of France is soap, and this olive oil, vegetable and lavender number from Durance en Provence is one of many available in Carcassonne to keep you clean and fresh.
8 PROVENCAL COOKING HERBS
Love food, must use great herbs for cooking meats, fish and soups. Although in Languedoc, Carcassonne has plenty of “herbes de Provence”, a mix of rosemary, bay leaf, basil, thyme and marjoram.
9 MASSIVE ATTACK CONCERT TICKET
Bristol’s finest trip hop/reggae/ funk band hit Carcassonne’s magisterial, open-air Théâtre Jean Deschamps last month. Find numerous other concerts in August and September, by visiting www.carcassonne.org
Any prolonged stay in a relaxed southern French town leaves lots of time for reading the newspapers in your hotel. This one features the ins and outs of small town life, from parking disputes to protests, as well as an events guide.