This advanced history tour is for academics, experts and aficionados and those who have attended the Original tour. You will visit sites and discuss topics such as the likely origins of Catharism, primary documents and various academic theories and esoteric traditions about them. This tour is also slightly more physically demanding than the Original tour and we visit some less well-known sites. This tour, like all others, is not scripted and time is always allowed for questions.
You will be welcomed and enjoy aperitifs and dinner at the Château Saint-Ferriol to meet others on the tour in an informal environment. In the morning, we visit Albi, a picturesque town that gave its name to the Albigensian Crusade. Explore the spectacular Cathedral. Then, it is time to visit Cordes sur Ciel, a hilltop town founded by the Count of Toulouse for refugees from the Crusaders.
The next day, we will visit Mazame, the Museum of Catharism with an interesting recreation of Cathar ceremonies. Another interesting site to see is the Hautepoul where a siege occurred during the War against the Cathars. Explore Bram Circulade, the site of an atrocity during the War against the Cathars.
In the morning, we will visit and learn about Lastours, Cabaret. It is a medieval village and there are three Cathar Châteaux, which withstood repeated sieges by the Crusaders to see. Enjoy Minerve Cathar Château and castrum, where between 140 and 180 Cathars were burned alive in 1211.
You will have a free day to enjoy a day of respite and explore local markets, food or wine. For those who want to see more Cathar Castles, you are offered practical and logistic advice. People typically choose to either do something together or rest and catch up with postcards. Dinner is at the hotel.
The next day, we visit Avignonet, a site of a Château belonging to the Count of Toulouse where a team of inquisitors were murdered in 1242. You will also see Lavaur Cathedral, the site of atrocity during the Cathar wars. More than 400 were burned here. The Les Casses is a site of a mass burning of Cathars as 60 Cathars were burned here. We will see the Basilica, where Saint Dominic preached and Simon de Montfort was originally buried. Lunch is within the Cité and in the afternoon, we visit the Chateau Comtal, the Viscounts’ castle within the Cité of Carcassonne. Dinner is at the hotel.
On day seven, we explore Foix Cathar Château, capital of the medieval counts of Foix. See Montaillou, which is the famous Cathar village where everyone was arrested and interrogated by Jacques Fournier, the Bishop of Pamiers.
After breakfast, our tour will end.