Private Group Tours

These tours are designed for groups who book together - typically families, history groups, clubs or societies with a shared interest.

Dates and schedules can be tailored to special requirements. Examples are:

  • Cathars and Wine Tours in the Languedoc
  • Cathar Castles Photography
  • Cathars and Megalithic sites in the Languedoc
  • Cathars and Archaeology in the Languedoc
  • Cathars and History in the Languedoc
  • Cathars and Languedoc Mysteries
  • The Cathar Crusade and Heraldry in the Languedoc
  • Cycling the Cathar Castles
  • Horse Riding the Cathar Castles
  • Hiking the Cathar Castles

Cathar Country Tours offers escorted tours of castles, abbeys, fortified towns and other major historical sites across the Languedoc region of France. All tours are in English and present unique, carefully researched insights into the tumultuous history of the region, with an emphasis on the Medieval Cathars, the Cathar Crusade launched against them by the Roman Catholic Church in the 13th Century and the subsequent Inquisition established by the papacy to exterminate the surviving vestiges of their beliefs.

Tours of Cathar sites are designed and personally led by Cathar researcher, writer and public speaker James McDonald, who offers the insights of an Oxford-educated historian to Cathar Country Tour participants. The focus of Cathar Country Tours is on offering you an opportunity to spend time with an educator who brings his knowledge of the history and the sites of the Cathar region out of the textbooks and to the very places where history was made. His broad and deep understanding of the Cathars and their adversaries is based on decades of meticulous research into scholarly sources. His combination of wit and erudition – and his frequent use of colourful quotations from the Cathars and Crusaders themselves – enable him to make complex historical themes accessible in a way that is unique and memorable. Your historical immersion experience with James will be highlighted by key places selected by him to explain not only what happened in the Languedoc eight centuries ago, but also why it happened and why it still matters.

Key themes addressed on tours include: the roles of the papacy, the French monarchy and regional secular leaders (e.g., the Counts of Toulouse); techniques of Medieval warfare; the concept of heresy; the troubadours; knighthood; the High Middle Ages; and the political implications of the Cathar Crusade. Although James’ knowledge is encyclopaedic, his style is refreshingly entertaining and he has a gift for weaving apparently disparate threads together into a coherent narrative appealing to people of all ages and knowledge levels.

While our tours will always highlight key Cathar sites and history, the Languedoc offers unique opportunities to explore a wide range of pre-historic and historic themes. Prehistoric humans, Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, Celts, Visigoths, Moors, Franks, Medieval Counts, Troubadours and others have all left traces behind in this enchanting region. The Languedoc is studded with spectacular mountains, megaliths, caves, castles, churches, abbeys, wildlife, thermal springs and even dinosaur fossils. This living library of human and natural history offers endless opportunities for you to learn about an amazing range of fascinating topics.


Group Size.

Groups sizes are variable, but 8 is typical. Minimum 5. Not more than 40.


Please contact us to discuss as the cost will depend on group size and your requirements.

Our Tours

A selection of our tours and other services. Click on one of the boxes for more information

Scheduled One-Week Tours

Join one of our scheduled week-long tours which take place in June and September each year, including iconic sites such as Montsegur.

Private Tours for Individuals

Customised Tours for 1 person to 5 people: you get to chose how long the tour is, where you visit, and what topics you want to learn about.

Private Group Tours

Customised Tours for groups of 6 or more: you get to chose how long the tour is, where you visit, what topics you want to learn about, and where you stay.

One-Day Scheduled Tours

Join one of our limited number of scheduled day-tours which take place in June and September each year, including iconic Cathar sites such as Montsegur.

Talks, Lectures, Seminars

If you want an entertaining but intellectually rigorous and historically accurate account of Catharism, the Albigensian Crusade and the Medieval Languedoc..

Other Services

We offer a Concierge service to help you plan tours focused on the Languedoc / Occitania (including topics other than the Cathars). We also offer services to established Tour Operators organising visits to Cathar Country.