Puilaurens Castle: The Last Cathar Fortress

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Puilaurens, Languedoc, France.

Ruins of Cathar castle of Puilaurens, Languedoc, France.

In the 13th century, the Cathar Crusade of Pope Innocent III against heretics of Languedoc brought to submission many cities in the South of France. To his crusaders, the pope promised all the lands which they would free of Cathars. Of course, landlords of Languedoc didn’t like the idea of their properties being used as a prize. Together with the Cathars, they held the fort in their castles for 10, 20, and, in some cases, 50 years. Most of the castles were located on inaccessible rocks. Today, you will find just their remnants, but some of them have kept their greatness.

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A Holy City in Cappuccino Style, Assisi, Umbria, Italy

The city of Assisi, Perugia, Italy.

Pietro di Bernardone was a successful silk merchant in Assisi, Umbria. Like every normal man and businessman, he wanted to have a son who would continue the family business letting his father relax under the tender sun of Italy when time and age would demand their tribute. But his wife, a French noblewoman, Pica de Bourlemont, gave birth exclusively to girls. There were already six of them, when upon his return from another business trip to Provence, France, Pietro found out about the birth of his first son. History is silent on how many months the father was absent.

Pietro was so happy that he named his boy Francesco (Francis) because he adored France. Apparently, France was a brilliant country even in the 12th century. Francis grew to be a smart, fun, and good-looking boy, very attractive to the girls, and his father’s wealth made this attractiveness irresistible. The young man had nothing against such a destiny and was enjoying the life of a rich loafer until his father put him to work in their shop. In this, Francis was also successful. It was no wonder, because most of his buyers were women.

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