In late summer 2012 me and my girlfriend spent our holidays in the very South of France. I had never really been to France save for Paris when I was a teenager and passing through on my way to the UK. ‘Cathar country’ had been on my wishlist for quite a while. Why? Perhaps that romantic view on the Cathars, being curious about what is left and of course the environment over there. We found a place to stay quite near to the most famous castle of the Cathars, Montségur and had found a few other things that we wanted to see. I must say, a week of visiting Cathar sites (and some other things) has put the subject into some perspective.
What I did not really expect is that the Cathars are actually the main tourist feature of the region and many, many tourists set off to southern France for that, too many! There are Cathar car-tours, every ruin has to be paid for to get in, you are never alone when you visit a site, there is some sort of Cathar passport that you can use to collect stamps when you visit a site, but this includes sites that I have not found the Cathar connection with. It is a craze actually. Visiting some sites, buying books, reading the information provided to tourists, etc. has mostly flattened my (slumbering) ideas of before. A few thoughts.Read More »Land of the Cathars