Carcassonne > Visit > Bastions
he three bastions we see today in the Lower Town are the only remains of the former fortifications. They date back from the 16th century.
There were five of them originally. Bishop Armand Bazin de Bezons ordered in 1764 to demolish the two others together with the ramparts. The fortifications were replaced by the Boulevards.
The surroundings of Bastion St Martin (or St Martial) were opened out recently, so that we now can see it as it was constructed four hundreds years ago. This big circular building, partially covered with ivy, is situated next to Boulevard Omer Sarrault and the little public garden. Café terraces, cinemas, shops, a tide of pedestrians make this place one of the liveliest in Carcassonne.

This bastion does not stand at an angle of the hexagon formed by the Lower Town, so we can suppose the original lay-out of the bastide was different from the current one.

Montmorency's bastion is situated on the southern side of the Lower Town, near the Dome and the Old Bridge. It is classified as a National Monument. It was built in 1540 and shelters a botanical garden.

But if you want to visit this botanical garden, you will have to get into the courtyard of a private hospital. This bastion was once the seat of a freemasons' lodge (18th & 19th centuries). Frescoes and engraved symbols still testify their presence.

The Big Tower, also called Tower of the Mills, was an element of the fortifications, too. It was covered with windmills. Those mills, built in 1599 had to supply the city with "300 breads everyday for the poor."

A religious congregation bought the place at the beginning of the 19th century and fitted out a little garden and chapels. This is the very peaceful Calvary Garden.