Travels through History – France

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.

 

 

‘I’m Spartacus!’: gladiators galore at Nîmes’ Great Roman Games

At one of Europe’s biggest re-enactment spectaculars, this year’s show is Spartacus-themed. So, take a seat in the mighty arena alongside 12,000 spectators (togas optional)

Disney goes eco: the new holiday resort near Disneyland Paris

There’s some weirdness attached to Villages Nature, the Disney-imagineered vision of rustic life, but the waterslides are amazing and there’s lots for kids to do

Creche course: a family skiing holiday in France

With round-the-clock childcare on hand in the quiet, family-friendly village of Ardent, mum and dad get to snowboard some of the best slopes in the French Alps while the kids are entertained back at base

Villaroger, Les Arcs’ poor relation, set to reinvent itself as ‘green resort’

Referred to as ‘the dark side’ by locals for its north-facing slopes and lack of bright lights, the village of Villaroger wants to raise its game without becoming brash

‘Burgundy is pastoral, like a Constable painting – I love it’: actor Lambert Wilson

The star of the new Cousteau film, The Odyssey, loves the area’s food and waterways. Its chateaux and abbeys are worth a look, too!

Bordeaux’s free holiday cabins: basic but still beautiful

Dotted around Bordeaux, Les Refuges Périurbains are architect-designed shelters that cost nothing to stay in – though don’t expect hot tubs or minibars