View from the Top: The Donjon Gilles Aycelin

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Donjon Gilles Aycelin, Narbonne, France

I’m not usually that bothered about seeing views from high places – frankly it’s usually quite disappointing, and usually when I do it, I wonder why I bothered.  In this case, the Donjon – or rather, the tower – is positioned so that you could get a dramatic view of the cathedral and surrounding countryside.  And it did deliver a great view of the cathedral.

But on the other hand, it is just a view, which required a climb of 162 steps.  Up this stairway:

Fortunately when we went it wasn’t busy – when we did pass someone on the stairs it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

There are points where you can stop off and catch your breath – when it’s a hot day, this is much appreciated.  There would be enough space for small exhibitions, but all we had when we went was some fluorescent piping replicating some names etched into the walls by old visitors.  I always love looking at these old pieces of graffiti, but it would be nice if there was something else to see as well.

The keep was built between 1295 and 1306 by the archbishop Gilles Aycelin, and was a part of the city walls.  They used a lot of old Roman stones in the construction, which you can really see at the bottom when you go around the outside of the building.

So In Summary

If you are fit enough to walk up the staircase, then you can enjoy some lovely views.  If you are too tired or if life is too short, then you can give it a skip, because – as you can see from my pictures – there’s not a lot to see.

Further Information & How To Get There

Please check out my post on the Archbishops’ Palace for information.

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