part of the fortifications connect the Counts' Castle with the Treasure Tower
(Tour du Trésau). It is a beautiful walk through centuries.
northern side of the ramparts is actually the oldest one in Carcassonne. It
is maybe not the most spectacular, but it gives the visitor a very good idea
of how Carcassonne looked like at the end of the Roman Empire, until the time
of Trencavels' Dynasty and the Crusade, when the outer walls did not exist yet.
Like in the Upper Lists
the outside wall dates back from the French conquest (end of the 13th century).
The inner wall is one thousand years older !!!
But unlike the Higher
Lists the towers of the northern part of the ramparts are low, horseshoe-shaped
(not cylindrical) and covered with tiles. Most of them have broad openings,
which made it possible to use spears.
1240, when the dispossessed Count Trencavel tried to reconquest his city, the
old village St Vincent which was leaning on the walls, was totally razed to
the ground and its population exiled. Carcassonne's new masters decided to strengthen
the citadel. They levelled the hillside at the foot of the old towers and built
the outer walls. This revealed the foundations on which they rested.
As stone towers don't
practise levitation, it was necessary to prolong the wall downwards, that
is to rebuild their foundation over a certain depth, to prevent them from
This is the reason why
we see today those very strange towers with a medieval foot (foundation from
the 13th century), a Roman body, and a medieval head again (battlements, restored
in th 19th century) !!! The whole architectural history of Carcassonne is
piled up here !
those giant's work sometimes provoked some disasters. The Tower of Vieulas did
not like the way the medieval architects cut its Roman foot out and replaced
it by a new one ! The tower fell over and the architects had to reconstruct
the higher parts and roofs behind, so as to stabilize the whole. So Carcassonne
has its own tilted tower as well !
Next to that tower you
see the Rodez Gate, which gave access to St Vincent village.
The last tower before
the Treasure Tower is higher and thiner than its neighbours. It was used as
the city mill. The mill itself stood on the top.