Maneuvering a family of five and their luggage through the Paris metro is not a feat for the faint of heart. No surprise then that we missed not one but two trains to Carcassonne and arrived there at nearly midnight rather than one in the afternoon.
Bleary as we were, the castle peeping around the corner of our winding street proved a lure we couldn't refuse. So we walked through the darkness up to Carcassonne City and explored its turrets and walkways, completely alone with the imagined memories of nobles and their ladies. After nine days in Paris, the stillness and solitude did seem to belong to another time.
We twirled imagined skirts. We shot imagined arrows. We climbed farther in the energy of the moonlight than we thought tired legs would. I felt the cool brown stone and looked over the wall to farm fields, something those long-ago inhabitants probably did as well. The next day, Carcassonne would belong to hundreds of other people. But for an hour, it was our castle.