Carcassonne's Short History
The city of Carcassonne is the capital of the department Aude (11). It has a population of over 40,000 inhabitants.
One legend says that the name Carcassonne comes from the name of the wife of the last Moor king Ballak who died during the siege laid by the Emperor Charlemagne, Dame Carcas.
This dame was left by her husband to defend the fort and she managed to do it by tricking the Emperor into believing that the citadel’s inhabitants were far from starving – like the attackers would have like to believe after months of blockade. According to the legend Dame Carcas fed the last grains to the only pig left and threw the pig over the ramparts. Hitting the ground the pig died but his belly burst showing that he has been feed with the grains! This was interpreted by the besieging army as a proof that the fort inhabitants still had food to keep them going and Charlemagne decided to end the siege. However realizing that the victory will be only temporary, Dame Carcas signaled by trumpets (Carcas sonne means Carcas is sounding) that she wanted to make peace with the Carolingian army.
For the history of the city see "The Fortified City of Carcassonne".
As a last note: the "Hôtel de la Cité" was declared by CNN Travel the best European castle hotel.