Southern France

We continued our journey south through the French cities of Toulouse, Carcassonne and Perpignan.

Snacks on a train
Snacks on a train

If I’m being honest, Toulouse was our least favorite city on our honeymoon. Maybe it was because there was a cold snap and it was overcast when we arrived, or perhaps we didn’t find the “fun” part of town, but Toulouse was pretty boring.

We stayed at the budget Hôtel La Caravelle, which was conveniently located near the train station. Toulouse is known for its unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks, which earned it the nickname la Ville Rose (the Pink City).

View from our hotel room
View from our hotel room
Toulousse
Toulouse
Toulouse street view
Toulouse street view

While in town, we visited the Basillica of St. Sernin, a UNESCO World Heritage site designated because of its significance to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.

Basilica of St. Sernin
Basilica of St. Sernin
Giant mirrors in the Basilica of St. Sernin
Giant mirrors in the Basilica
Selfie in the Basilica's gardens
Selfie in the Basilica’s gardens

That evening we branched out from fancy French cuisine and ate fast food, which included bonafide French fries.

French fast food (real French fries)
French fast food (real French fries)

The next day, we hopped a train to Carcassonne (the city not the board game).

Sleepy Jini on a train
Sleepy Jini on a train

We stayed at the Hotel Astoria, which had an affordable rate and  very pleasant staff.

Hotel Astoria
Hotel Astoria
Carcassone street view
Carcassonne street view
Pelforth blondes and salads
Pelforth blondes and salads

The coolest thing about Carcassonne is its old-school fortified city. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hilltop has been occupied since Neolithic times. Its strategic importance was quickly recognized by the Romans who occupied it until the demise of their empire. In the fifth century, it was taken over by the Visigoths who founded the city. It thrived as a trading post due to its location and saw many rulers who successively built up its fortifications until its military significance was reduced by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. It was eventually restored to its current condition by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853.

View of the fortified city as we walk up the hill
View of the fortified city as we walk up the hill
Train touristico
Train touristico
Selfie on train touristico
Selfie on train touristico
View of the fortified city
View of the fortified city
Entrance
Entrance
Medieval city
Fancy medieval city pic
View from a tower
View from tower
New city from the old city
New city from the old city
Delish crepes at a cafe inside the city walls
Delish crepes at a cafe inside the city walls
Perpignan train station
Carcassonne train station

Next, we headed closer to the French-Spain border with a stop in the city of Perpignan. Oh yeah, and it was time to do some laundry.

Euro laundry
Euro laundry

As you look around Perpignan, it’s obvious you are approaching the Spanish border. The architecture and design of the city starts to look and feel more Spanish and less French.

Perpignan street view
Perpignan street view
Perpignan street view
Perpignan street view
Perpignan street view
Perpignan street view

We stayed at the Hôtel Aragon, which was clean and friendly. The staff gave us a map with local attractions, so we grabbed some gelato and took a walk around town to see the sights.

Le Castillet
Le Castillet
Perpignan waterway and bridge
Perpignan waterway and bridge

While Perpignan was very pleasant, we couldn’t hardly wait for the next leg of our trip: Barcelona, Spain.

Leaving for Spain from the Perpignan train station
Leaving for Spain from the Perpignan train station
French/Spanish border with Mediterranean Sea and rows of olives
View from train on French/Spanish border with Mediterranean Sea and rows of olives