Wednesday 12 November 2014
Bonnie Davis’ Testimonial
James McDonald’s Cathar Country Tour
September 21-28, 2014
Having been home for two months now I have, not surprisingly, slipped back into my “normal” routine. So much so that once in a while I stop and think “Did that really happen”? The week-long Cathar Country Tour was like a beautiful dream, but in my case it was a dream realized as I’ve aspired to climb Montsegur since first learning of the Cathars many years ago.
The first night of the tour, seven of us were invited to a spectacular, candlelit dinner at Chateau Saint Ferriol. How often does this happen? Dinner at the Chateau that evening set the pace for a week of excellent company, superb meals and interesting conversations. There’s something quite serendipitous about a group of individuals coming together with a shared purpose; strangers to one another in the beginning but parting as friends.
In those “did my recent visit to the Languedoc really happen?” moments, I recollect our relaxing lunch in the village of Montsegur where we were introduced to Hippocras, a local wine mixed with sugar, cinnamon and other spices. I reflect on dinner in the courtyard of the beautiful, atmospheric Chateau des Ducs de Joyeuse and distinctly remember thinking “I’ve got to come back here.” I recall the quaint village of Alet les Bains, a marvelous, magical place that exudes charm, and the Hostellerie de l’Eveche, bordered on one side by the ruins of an ancient abbey and on the other by the gently flowing Aude River. My fondest recollection, however, is of our small group following James McDonald (with silver-tipped walking stick) as he led us to the top of Montsegur. This memory is etched in my heart and mind forever.
For these, and many other reasons, I wholeheartedly recommend James McDonald’s Cathar Country Tour to anyone interested in learning more about French history in general, Medieval French history in particular, the Cathars and/or the Languedoc region of France.
B Davis USA, September 2014