Pays Cathare or the Noble Ruins Remembering the Cathar Heresy


Chateaux de Lastours. Pays Cathare, Languedoc, France.

Chateaux de Lastours. Pays Cathare, Languedoc, France.

The whole land was filled with blood, castles were taken by storm, villages were lying in ruins, bonfires were blazing everywhere burning hundreds of people, the population was almost destroyed by the Crusader army led by Simon de Montfort hired by the pope. Did you think it happened somewhere in Palestine? No. It was Languedoc, France, which 800 years ago was named Occitania or Pays Cathare and belonged to the Cathars, people who dared to think about Jesus Christ in their own way, not according to the pope’s way. The head of the Catholic Church declared this doctrine to be the Cathar heresy and tested in Occitania a new method of getting rid of unwanted people—burning them at the stake—which would later became known as the Holy Inquisition.

Why burn people? Why not just kill them with well proven methods? Because their graves and memorial stones could remain and become places of worship for new heretics. Instead, nothing but ashes would be left after a fire. However, the pope was wrong. Memorial stones on the fields of mass burnings of Cathars in Languedoc were established, and today, we will stand near one of them at the foot of the famous ruins of the Cathar castle, Chateau de Montsegur.

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Paris: Three Days of Tartare Tasting

By Irina.

Louvre Museum. Paris, France.

The Louvre

What are the most common sights of Paris? Of course, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but to write about them is a little bit trivial. Of course, I’m enraptured by Venus de Milo since I have to make great efforts to emulate such an ideal of beauty and slenderness. That’s why I’ll tell you about one uncommon and delicious dish which can’t harm your figure, and which we were eating during our trip to Paris: a beef tartare.

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Montmajour Abbey and the Necklace of the Decapitated Queen

Ruins of the Montmajour Abbey, France.

Ruins of the Montmajour Abbey

Montmajour is the oldest abbey in Provence, France. Its construction started long ago in the year 948. When the mighty Roman Empire collapsed, these southern lands passed to the French Crown, and warriors and monks came to settle here.

Eight hundred years later, the last abbot of Montmajour became Cardinal de Rohan, infamous for his participation in the Queen Marie Antoinette necklace affair. This almost detective story accelerated the beginning of disorder and the further collapse of the monarchy in France. However, let’s start with the abbey, and then we’ll tell the story of the famous and vanished-without-a-trace necklace that allowed Alexandre Dumas to write his novel, “The Queen’s Necklace.”

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