Why The Languedoc?
Or Occitanie as it now called, thanks to French bureaucratic changes!
Holiday-makers going to France for the first time or indeed the twenty-first time always face the dilemma of where exactly to go. All the regions are worth exploring but they all have their drawbacks. The Dordogne is too English, Normandy is too intemperate and Provence is too expensive. So why here?
Discover It First
Le Touriste Sportif
So Who Were The Cathars?
The Aude tourist board likes to promote itself as ‘Cathar Country’ and La Bomba is right at the heart of it, being just a few kilometers from St. Felix-Lauragais – where the Cathars held their first synod in 1167. But who exactly were they and what did they believe?
Catharism was a heretical religion that flourished in Europe, and in the French Languedoc in particular, during the Middle Ages. They built tremendous castles (visits to which are highly recommended) and were remarkably progressive in extolling the virtues of vegetarianism, feminism and sexuality.
Cathars believed in two gods – an evil Satan who they preached had created the world and another entirely good God. They thought the world, and man, was inherently sinful, and could not have been made by good God, who was the light, so must have been made by the dark Devil. Their aim therefore was to live life as purely as possible, trying to rid themselves of the sin that they had been burdened with at birth.
They lived ascetic lives, rejecting meat, alcohol and material possessions in an attempt to free themselves from the corruption of the world and become pure, enabling them to join the “good” God in heaven. These beliefs, combined with the fact that Cathar nobles in Languedoc owned valuable land, invoked the wrath of the Catholic church. In 1208 Pope Innocent III called the Albigensian Crusades against the Cathars. Over 500,000 were killed over the following 50 years.