Friday, 21 September 2012

VI Termes & Villerouge

The last day of the tour, which has been exceptional, couldn't be better. In the morning we headed to Termes, a charming small village with a chateau that was the administrative center of an important territorial district during the crusade against the Cathars by the army of Simon the Montfort.  

The siege of Termes in 1210 was one of the longest and hardest during the first period of the Albigensian Crusade. At the end of the XIII century the chateau was restructured by the French Royal power to protect France against Spain.

Termes
Termes
Termes
Specially outstanding is the cross-shaped window in the chapel of the castle. 

Termes
Termes

Raimond de Termes was one of the most powerful vassals of Trencavel, Viscount of Carcassonne.

James mentioned that after a dry summer, Raimond had to surrender due to the lack of water even though he recuperated the castle when Simon de Montfort died. He was soon forced to give it up again, this time to the King of France.    

Termes

Termes














At lunch time and after having finished the visit at Termes, we went to an extraordinary restaurant booked by Sophie, James' wife. The restaurant, located in Lagrasse, gave us the opportunity to walk around an unusual, amazing and peculiar town (pictures on the next post).

In the afternoon, Villerouge was waiting for us. In this town Guillaume Bélibaste, the last of the Cathars known in the Languedoc region, was burnt at the stake by order of the Archbishop of Narbonne, Bernard de Farges (nephew of Clement V, the first pope to reign from Avignon).  

Villerouge
Villerouge

Guillaume Bélibaste lived for many years in exile, particularly in Catalonia. He was condemned by the Inquisition for heresy.

Villerouge

There is an audio-visual exhibition housed in the east wing of the castle. It gives you a clear picture of what life was like in medieval times, using slide presentations, frescos and wax figures.


Villerouge
Villerouge

Villerouge
Villerouge
We all have enjoyed the magnificent day and we are really grateful to James and the whole team, for giving us the invaluable opportunity to discover the marvelous Cathar Country.

Personally, I just can say that it is an unforgettable experience which I highly recommend.

Au revoir. 

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