Carcassonne > Visit > Aude Gate
rriving from the Lower Town, the only way to reach the Cité and the Aude Gate is to pass the St Gimer Church and walk on the access ramp of the Grande Caponière.
This way up is very rough, and especially in summer, because there is no tree, no shadow ! But the landscape around you is really worth the sweat you will pour on this long paved road !

The Counts' Castle, the Pinte Tower, the Inquisition Gallery, the Inquisition Tower, the Justice Tower and the Bishop's Tower are all the buildings standing on your left.

On your right, the Lower Town and its roofs, the tall figure of St Vincent, the Black Mountains, the Pyrenees, the Aude and the island... Admiring this panorama will be a good excuse to stop a few minutes and resume breath !

But the assault course is not yet finished ! You have several obstacles to pass before reaching the Aude Gate and the Castle.

The western defences of the castle are built on the part of the hill that the relief best protects. But several gates also protect the western access to the Cité. They made it almost impossible for assailants to penetrate into it.

The ramp changes direction several times as well. This is a very well thought defence system. The curves slowed down the assaults, and obliged the enemies to approach the walls on their weakest flank.

The weakest flank is the right one, which was not protected by a shield. The same system is also to be found at the St Nazaire Tower.

The high arches you will see just before the last curve were not built as a ornament, though you might find them very decorative. They were big false doors, which could be very rapidly "made up" with wooden panels. The assailants so wasted their time trying to ram them, and finally faced the wall !!! Poor enemies !...

Just above the Aude Gate itself hangs the little gatehouse, which was used by the defenders to welcome the people who were not welcome !!!

From this overhang they dropped all kind of stones. But they NEVER poured boiling water or boiling oil, which were much too expensive. Why should they have wasted those precious goods that way ??