I've wanted to go to the medieval city of Carcassonne ever since the game of the same name won the Spiel des Jahres prize in 2001. If a city has such impressive walls as to inspire a wall-building board game, that surely has to be a sight worth seeing. Plus, it's a UNESCO world heritage site, which is usually a good indicator.
I recently signed up to get TravelZoo's last minute holiday deals by email. (I do love a bargain, and there's nothing nicer than being told about cheap opportunities for travel.) One of the offers last week was a weekend break to a beautiful chateau hotel in rural France - and imagine my surprise when I clicked through and found that, as well as looking stunning, Domaine d'Auriac was just a couple of miles outside Carcassonne. Oh, and did I mention that the price includes a three-course dinner at their Michelin-starred restaurant? I could hardly believe my luck.
Then reality kicked in, and I emailed the hotel to check there would be a vegetarian menu available in the restaurant. French food isn't always the most veggie-friendly, and I would be so gutted to stay somewhere with a Michelin star only to find I couldn't eat anything. They responded the next day to say that would be fine, just to warn them in advance.
By the time I phoned up to book, the hotel was sold out of regular rooms, so we then had to make the oh-so-difficult decision of whether to pay a little more to upgrade to a superior room. Since we were already splashing out, though, it didn't take much to talk ourselves into going for it. This is going to be at the fancier end of our travel spectrum! And I don't even know if I'm more excited about the city or the hotel.
Photos of Carcassonne by Isaac Alvarez Brugada, from Flickr (licensed under Creative Commons), because I obviously don't have any of my own yet! (But watch this space....)