Monday, 27 May 2013


I've had the idea of visiting Carcassonne for a while, but it was given fresh impetus when I watched Kate Mosse's Labyrinth. The beauty of the setting, and its bloody history, took my breath away. One interesting statistic is that my blog post about Labyrinth struck a chord, because it has been viewed more than five thousand times, a figure I find pleasing if rather startling. I was even contacted by a holiday business in Carcassonne as a result.

However, when I finally made it to this fascinating part of southern France, I decided to stay in the heart of the medieval city, at the Hotel de la Cite, which is right next to the Basilica. For a short stay, this proved a wonderful choice. There's nothing like exploring somewhere gorgeous when you are right on the spot, and don't need to travel. Carcassonne more than lived up to expectations.

I didn't see many copies of Kate Mosse's book around, to my surprise, but the history of the Cathars and the Crusades is everywhere. Until recently, I didn't know much about this bit of the past, but it's certainly fascinating, and a son et lumiere show in the grounds of the old castle one evening was a wonderful way to soak up the atmosphere.

The town of Carcassonne outside the old (but restored) walls is also very appealing, and the Canal du Midi runs right past the railway station. Canal trips, as I've mentioned before on this blog, are a favourite pastime of mine, and I managed to fit in three trips up and down the very scenic route. It was all wonderfully relaxing, and put me in just the right frame of mind to start planning my next book.

On the subject of my writing, The Frozen Shroud is due out in the UK next month, and to celebrate, my current plan is to post more regularly to this blog than the usual three times a week. You never know, I may even get around to reviving my Twitter account!

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