Castles, Cathars and Crusades

The Occitanie region in the south-west of France is filled with the remains of a turbulent history, cultural heritage and proud traditions. Troubadours sang about the Grail in the medieval fortress of Carcassonne, heretics were burnt on the stake by the hundreds and politically, it was ruled in turn by Visigoths, Franks, Merovingians, Moors, Angevins and French.

In the middle of this political hornet’s nest, the city of Albi gave name to the Albigensians – or as they are better known today: the Cathars.

This group of Christian non-conformist gained incredible popularity between the 12th and 14th century. The movement believed in an ascetic lifestyle, even abstinence and refused the Catholic Sacrament of the eucharist. In many ways, they were morally superior to the decadent and corrupt Catholic church.

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