Full week inclusive tour of Cathar Country in the French Languedoc

Full week inclusive tour of Cathar Country in the French Languedoc

Small groups led by a Cathar expert - historian and author James McDonald. You will visit sites associated with the Cathars and learn about their origins, beliefs and history. One minute you will be noting the spot where a Crusade leader fell, and the next immersed in the grand sweep of European history. James brings to life the medieval personalities - Saint Dominic, the man behind the founding of the first papal Inquisition; the ambitious Simon de Montfort; the tragic Raymond-Roger Trencavel; the irrepressible Count of Foix, and many others.   

You simply will not find either this depth of knowledge or this breadth of knowledge about Catharism anywhere else. Our tours are all in English. They are not scripted and unlimited time is always allowed for questions.


Day 1: Sunday — Toulouse.

Stop At: Toulouse, Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, Occitanie
We visit the ancient city of Toulouse. Here you will discover Toulouse's beautiful centre, learn about Cathar beliefs, the medieval Counts of Toulouse, the historic role of the City of Toulouse, and the feudal system. Lunch will be at a restaurant in the center of Toulouse. We will also trace the history of the Dominicans, who were founded explicitly to combat the Cathars, and who founded and operated the first papal inquisitions.
Duration: 6 hours

Meals included:
• Lunch: Lunch in the Capitol at Toulouse
Accommodation included: Local Hotel

Day 2: Monday — Termes and Arques

Stop At: Chateau de Termes, 2 Camin Dal Castel, 11330 Termes France
We head through the Corbiéres to visit the castle at Termes, which was besieged for several months during the Albigensian Crusade and is one of the best attested sieges of the middle ages. Lunch is at a local restaurant.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Donjon D'arques, Arques France
In the afternoon we will visit the castle at Arques, a spectacular donjon of the fourteenth century, built by the family of one of the crusade leaders and discuss the theory and practice of medieval crusading.
Duration: 2 hours

Meals included:

Accommodation included: Local Hotel

Day 3: Tuesday — Fontfroide

Stop At: Abbaye de Fontfroide, Chemin de Fontfroide Rd 613, 11100, Narbonne France
Fontfroide is a beautifully restored Cistercian abbey which played an important role in many of the events associated with the Albigensian Crusade. We will discuss distinctive features of twelfth century Cistercians. We visit the abbey gardens and discuss the role of monasticism, including military monasticism, specifically militias, Cistercian justifications for killing, Cistercians & crusading, fighting monks, and the foundation of the Knights Templar.
Duration: 5 hours

Meals included:
• Lunch: Lunch in the abbey restaurant.
Accommodation included: Local Hotel

Day 4: Wednesday — Free day / Carcassonne.

Stop At: Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne, A61 West Sur la Rive droite de l'Aude, 11000 Carcassonne Center, Carcassonne France
This is a free day. You can enjoy a day enjoying local markets, food or wine, or catching up with postcards. Transport is provided to Carcassonne, a world Heritage site, and the largest surviving medieval walled city in Europe. You can 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 Inquisition had their headquarters, and do a self-guided tour of the Château Comtal, the Viscounts' castle within the Cité of Carcassonne.
Duration: 5 hours

No meals included on this day.
Accommodation included: Local Hotel

Day 5: Thursday — Montségur & Puivert

Stop At: Chateau de Montsegur, D9, 09300 Montsegur France
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 village of Montsegur.
Duration: 3 hours

Stop At: Chateau de Puivert, 11230 Puivert France
The afternoon is spent at the Château at Puivert, known for its troubadour history, where a famous canso was composed, possibly for Eleanor of Aquitaine. We will also discuss the Occitan language, the origin of Romance and Romantic Love, and the origin of the troubadour tradition.
Duration: 2 hours

Meals included:
• Lunch: Lunch in a restaurant in the village of Montsegur.
Accommodation included: Local Hotel.

Day 6: Friday — Foix.

Stop At: Chateau de Foix, Place du Palais de Justice, 09000, Foix France
In the morning we visit the castle of Foix, the capital of the medieval Counts of Foix, who were major players in the Cathar Wars, and the most able and accomplished commanders on the side of the Occitan forces.
Duration: 3 hours

Stop At: Toulouse, Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, Occitanie
Return to the historic centre of Toulouse to end the tour.
Duration: 2 hours

Meals included:
• Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant in Foix.
No accommodation included on this day.

Informacion Adicional
"Confirmation will be received at time of booking"
"Not wheelchair accessible"
"Vegetarian option is available, please advise at time of booking if required"
"Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately"
"Reading list available in advance with Amazon links"
"Any disabilities or dietary requirements must be clearly indicated on the reservation form"
"Service animals allowed"
"Near public transportation"
"Infants must sit on laps"
"No heart problems or other serious medical conditions"
"Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level"
"This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate"

Hora de Inicio: 09:00 AM
Duración: 6 Days
Lugar de comienzo: Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse, Pl. Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse, France

Cancelaciones y devoluciones: All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.


  • 5x Lunch
  • Accommodation included: 5 nights
  • Accommodation and breakfast x 5
  • Local taxes
  • Historical expert, dedicated driver and air-conditioned minivan
  • Entry/Admission - Chateau de Termes
  • Entry/Admission - Donjon D'arques
  • Entry/Admission - Abbaye de Fontfroide
  • Entry/Admission - Chateau de Montsegur
  • Entry/Admission - Chateau de Puivert
  • Entry/Admission - Chateau de Foix

No Incluye

  • Supper each day


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