On The Subject Of Castles And The Women Stashed Away Inside Them

by Becky on May 13, 2013 · 2 comments

in Travel

Carcassonne Castle

One of my favorite moments during our day-long visit to Carcassonne’s castle: sitting down with Miss Zinnia in one of the old halls to watch a documentary about how the castle came to be, starting with the old Roman wall that still anchors one segment of it. I love learning the history of the places we land in. I also find myself wondering about the Women Of The Castles. I mean: there were women who lived there some of the time. I know this to be true. But the story of a castle often looks like this: guys stake it, build it, and hide out in it until other guys spy it, sack it, or take it over.

I’d love to go back in time and interview a couple of the women who had their own stake in places like Carcassonne. You know–get their take on things. I’d wager that half the time, they’d say stuff like, “My husband and I, we had the nicest little place in a grove, down by the river, you know?–and he wants to go and build Trump Tower up on the hill.  I mean–what’s that about? And now I’m supposed to pick up and move?  I really could not care less about the uptown address or the Duxiana bed. And . . . AND . . .  once the interest reserve is up on the loan??”–she shakes her head, disgusted–“gah!–don’t talk to me.”

I mean, whatever else they are, castles tend to be, well, big. And Carcassonne–it just kept getting bigger because through the centuries, people (read ‘guys’) kept adding onto it.  But bigness has its merits, not the least of which is that all that space means a greater likelihood that, if you’re a woman, you could find a room of your own–a place to tuck yourself and your friends away in for a few hours.  I like to think maybe there was a secret women’s ‘wing’ at some point, where Carcassonne Gals could commiserate about the challenges of menstruation in the middle ages, for example, or discuss the superiority of French butter and perfume, or start a manuscript illumination club.  You know–a ‘salon’ group of sorts.

Carcassonne Castle

I’d love to know what the Women Of The Castle thought about their inside-the-fortress-life, is all.  Wouldn’t you??

Karen L May 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

It would be fascinating to hear real accounts of what the women thought and how they lived. I can’t even imagine. While I absolutely love the architecture of the era, I am certainly thankful that I live in an age of modern conveniences! :) I never would have survived medieval or even pioneer times.

On a side note, I’ve peeked over at your daughter’s blog, and just have to say, she seems absolutely charming. A credit to her mother.

Becky May 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Karen, yeah, me neither–in the role of the medieval castle mistress, that is. I am SO pleased with the creature comforts I’ve come to rely so heavily on, starting with central heating and air, running water, sunscreen with 50 spf. The list could go on and on. But it’s interesting to wonder about the women who might once have lived where you’re standing, you know? Makes me want to research the topic, see what they brushed their teeth with, for example. If you find out first, let me know! xx

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