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Discovering The Cathars * Lucien Bély (2006)

In september 2012 my girlfriend and me spent a week in the French provinces Ariège and Aude, known for the wiped out Cathar precence around 1200. In the museum of Montségur village there were a couple of books with general information of which this title by Bély looked the most serious to me. Moreover, it has many beautiful images and the book is well-printed. In the first half, Bély gives a very nice overview of the history of the Cathars, leaving aside the many speculations of today and asking just questions such as if Catharism was actually just one religion and giving different versions of the same story. Also you get the whole story of about a century instead of just the years around Montségur. Some stories that have become legends are given in their historical context. The book is well written, does not really take sides and gives some details that I never heard about. The second half is a list with “places with Cathar connections”. This often gives information that I ran into in the first half, but especially when ‘on location’, that half is very helpfull. The book is only about 120 pages, so I finished it while being in France.
If you are looking for a no-nonsense book about the Cathars with many images and helpfull information, I can recommend this nice little book.
2006 Éditions Sud Quest, isbn 9782879017112

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