Subject: Re: Carcassonne
Lucy, Hi. My favorite market in Western Provence (really, I think the Luberon) is in Loumarin. We used the Ulysses Guide to Provence years ago. It lists many things -- among them - market days, if that helps.

Re: the Cathar castles. They are fantastic - especially on a misty day... very moody. The drive in and around is quite beautiful and hilly as they are in the foot hills of the Pyrenees -- I don't know how you're planning to go to Carcassonne, but if you plan to south after Carcassonne, there is a tiny town of Limoux which has a masked carnival during the winter weekend months and has a terrific carrousel in the center of town. They have a wonderful market day too and a tiny provincial museum that has costumes from carnival days and paintings of local artists. It's a great stopover place if you'll be in Carcassonne. We stayed at the Logis de France (3-star Fr rating - tel: 04 68 31 00 25) twice and both times we were happy. They had a good restaurant and we love the town. As I recall it's about 1/2 hr south of Carcassonne. A fabulous one-day hike if you're into that is Bugarach which is also not too far.

If you're looking for accommodation in a renovated Mas comme winery, we stayed at a fabulous (friends also stayed there last year and loved it!) place in the Bugarach area - Domaine de Cousseres

Let me know if I can be of any more assistance. If you mention how long you might stay or if you mention your itinerary into that region, I might have a few more ideas. Have fun! Regards, Susie Newton, MA