Extract from the book ‘Travels through History : France” available here
Catharism was an austere religion following the gnostic philosophy of God and Satan as two separate beings – God was associated with purity and Satan with every aspect of evil. Catharism encouraged its followers to adopt asceticism and celibacy even after marriage. Those who wished to serve became Perfects (Parfaits) after a demanding ceremony called a Consolamentum. This ceremony was deemed unnatural by the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope issued a Papal bull decreeing it as sacrilegious. In 1095 the Roman Catholic Church started crusades in the Middle East. After the embarrassment of the 4th Crusade (1202 – 1204) that had ended in the Sack of Constantinople – which meant most soldiers on the Crusade didn’t reach The Holy Land – Pope Innocent III turned his attention closer to home and became particularly interested in the Languedoc, where some of the people practiced a separate sect of Christianity called Catharism.
This is a book about travelling in the south-eastern parts of France.
I recently made a journey through Carcassonne, Niaux, Rennes-le Chateau, Montsegur, Payrepertuse, Fanjeaux, Mirepoix, and Perpignan. I travelled by train between these places.
The problem visitors have in France is where to go and how long to spend there, because there are so many places to choose from. However, I can help you as travelling by train is straightforward.
If you need some up-to-date information about which places to go to, read this book to discover some useful tips. The sights are extraordinary and the history is far ranging. The book combines history and sights in one small volume.
I provide descriptions of the places that interest me and some are in the guidebooks, some are not. This is a short introduction to south-eastern France told with humour and irony.
From the Niaux Cave paintings to the Roman theatres of Arles and Orange to the Cathar castles in the foothills of The Pyrenees there is much to see and remember. All of these places are in this book.
The food, wine and idyllic lifestyle of this region’s villages have always appealed to Brits – and with Brexit looming they’re settling in record numbers – but that has not dimmed its thoroughly French allure.