This is a tour aimed at adults with an interest in the Cathars.
No prior knowledge is assumed, though in practice most people
who attend these tours will have read one or more popular books
on the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade.
2018 Tour Dates
June 2018: Saturday 2 June Saturday 9 June.
September 2018: Saturday 8 September Saturday 15
2019 Tour Dates
June 2019: Saturday 15 June Saturday 22 June.
September 2019: Saturday 7 September Saturday 14
2020 Tour Dates
June 2020: Saturday 20 June Saturday 27 June.
September 2020: Saturday 5 September Saturday 12
Groups sizes are variable but seven is typical.
- Who Were the Cathars?
- Cathar Beliefs
- Historical Context - The High Middle Ages
- Where did Catharism come from?
- Medieval warfare & siege techniques
- The Albigensian Crusade
- What are "Cathar Castles"?
- The Inquisition and the end of Catharism
- Some Interesting Questions
- Consequences, Vestiges and Ramifications
Included is information on related topics such as techniques
of medieval warfare, castle architecture, heraldry, feudalism,
the role of the Catholic Church, the Count of Toulouse, Occitan
culture, medieval politics, and source documents.
Places Visited, Outline Itinerary
Schedule over 7 nights:
Day 1 Welcome
Arive at our hotel in time for supper.
Day 2 Termes and Arques
On day two we will head through the Corbiéres to visit
the castle at Termes, which was besieged for several months during
the Albigensian Crusade. Lunch is at a local restaurant. In the
afternoon we will visit the castle at Arques, a spectacular construction
of the fourteenth century, built by the family of one of the crusade
leaders. Supper is at local gourmet restaurant.
Day 3 Carcassonne
Carcassonne, a world Heritage site, is the largest surviving
medieval walled city in Europe. We visit the city walls, the site
of several sieges, and also the Basilica, where Saint Dominic
preached and Simon de Montfort was originally buried, see where
the Inquision had their headquarters, and visit the Château
Comtal, the Viscounts' castle within the Cité of Carcassonne.
Day 4 Puivert and Montségur
In the morning we drive into the Ariege and climb to the
iconic Castle of Montségur where over 200 Cathars were
burned alive in 1244 after a ten month siege. We also visit the
museum (time permitting) and have lunch in the vilage of Montsegur.
The afternoon is spent at the Château at Puivert, known
for its troubadour history (Eleanor of Aquitaine also visited
Day 5 Free day
A free day is provided. You can enjoy a day enjoying local
markets, food or wine, or catching up with postcards.
Day 6 Fontfroide and Villerouge
On day three we head North-East towards Fontfroide. Fontfroide
is a beautifully restored Cistercian abbey which played an important
role in many of the events associated with the Albigensian Crusade.
Lunch is at the abbey restaurant. In the afternoon we will visit
the castle of Villerouge, once a residence of the Archbishops
of Narbonne, where the last known Cathar Parfait was burned at
Day 7 Toulouse
Day seven includes a visit to the city of Toulouse. Here
you will discover Toulouse's beautiful centre and see how the
Cathars are remembered in the city's civic art and some of the
monuments and sites that bring to life medieval battles and the
activities of the Inquisition. Lunch will be at a favourite restaurant
in the center of Toulouse. In the afternoon we will visit more
historic sites in the heart of the city, which was besieged four
times during the period of the Cathar Wars. In late afternoon
we will return to our hotel before supper.
Departure after breakfast.
For the current cost (per person) click
We aim to be as flexible as possible. Just let us know if you
have any special requirements and we will try to accommodate them.