National Geographic : 1951 Jul
43 As the Farmer Cuts His Wheat, Hungry Sheep and Goats Rush In, Their Bells Tinkling A village called Lagorce crowns the distant escarpment, which rises a few miles north of Vallon. Its 17th century chateau is a crumbling ruin. Leaves of the mulberry trees (foreground) are raised to feed silkworms. Competition first from Japanese and later from nylon makers has injured the French silk industry. tially as Philip left them. No more perfect museum of early military architecture could be imagined. At intervals all day, the stirring strains of "The Marseillaise" were wafted up from the Ville Basse, where other Bastille Day cele brations were in progress. As is inevitable in France, there was a bicycle race, and the boulevard was lined with spectators fluttering small tricolor flags. Carcassonne's Ramparts Aflame Photographer Armand Dumont had in vited us to his roof to view the Cite fireworks display. As darkness fell, the streets were filled with people hurrying to similar vantage points. Near the zero hour, in the dim starlight, we could see shadowy figures on neighboring roofs. Occasionally a match would light up a face for a few seconds. Suddenly the silence was shattered by a violent detonation. The show was on! For twenty minutes colorful bursts, sprays, flashes, and loud reports filled the sky. Then followed a dramatic spectacle. All along the ramparts fires broke out, until the entire Cite seemed in flames (pages 36 37). Its towers and crenelated walls, its castle and cathedral stood out boldly, shim mering in the heated atmosphere. Fancy conjured up an invading army in the sur rounding darkness. For several minutes the "fires" burned fiercely, then gradually subsided. As if merg ing into the dim recesses of history, the fortress disappeared into the night and all was dark again. A haunting fade-out, we thought. Next morning we left Languedoc, but the memory of that vivid climax to our journey still lingers in our minds.