General information - Presentations and visits in Cathar Country

General information - Presentations and visits in Cathar Country

The Cathar movement and the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars were two of the most important events in European history - with many, often surprising, world-wide resonances even today, eight centuries later.

Cathar Country will give you a fantastic introduction to the Cathar story and an opportunity to follow your own threads of interest in conversation with James.  


Our tours are typically based in Quillan (11500), Carcassonne (11000) or Toulouse (31000).    Special arrangements can be made on request and private tour accommodation is tailored to your tastes and interests.

We can recommend tried and trusted Chateaux and Boutique hotels, beautiful country residences and great finds in the city centre.

We are there in case of any problems 24/7.

Airports close by are:
  • Carcassonne
  • Toulouse
  • Barcelona Gerona
  • Barcelona
  • Montpellier
Detailed travel advise as required is provided with your confirmation.

Train Travel:
Most of our muster points can be reached by the French train network (SNCF)
If you are traveling from Paris to Southern France you can travel to Toulouse or to Montpellier before taking a more local line to your final destination.

On our scheduled tours You will travel with a small group during the day and enjoy a  freshly prepared lunch with local flavours.  

The Cathars appeared in Europe in the eleventh century.   Catholic theologians debated whether they were Christians at all. The religion flourished in the Languedoc now the French region of Occitanie.
As Dualists, Cathars believed in two principles, a good creator god and his evil counterpart. Cathars maintained a Church hierarchy and practiced a range of ceremonies but rejected priesthood and church buildings. Their society was divided into ordinary believers who led ordinary medieval lives and an inner Elect of Parfaits (men) and Parfaites (women) who led extremely ascetic lives yet whom worked for their living.

Cathar beliefs have become of interest today resonating with our multi-faith, tolerant and secular values and beliefs today.  Cathars believed in reincarnation, refused to eat meat or other animal products. They were strict about biblical injunctions - not telling lies, not killing and not swearing oaths. They largely regarded men and women as equals and had no doctrinal objection to contraception, euthanasia or suicide.   In some respects the Cathar and Catholic Churches were polar opposites.  While the Cathar Church taught that all non-procreative sex was better than any procreative sex the Catholic Church taught - as it still teaches -  the opposite.   In the eleventh century the Languedoc, already known for its high culture, tolerance and liberalism, the Cathar religion took root and gained more and more adherents during the twelfth century.  Tensions rose.  The Roman Church considered the feudal system to be divinely ordained as the Natural Order while Cathars considered oath taking forbidden. 

In ensuing debates the Cathars ridiculed Catholic doctrine and practices, and Catholics accused Cathars of heresy or apostasy and said they belonged to the "Synagogue of Satan". The Catholic side created some striking propaganda. When the propaganda proved unsuccessful, there was only one option left - a crusade - the Albigensian Crusade.

These day tours will give you a fantastic introduction to the Cathar story and an opportunity to follow your own threads of interest in conversation with James.

James McDonald has lived south of Carcassonne in the heart of Cathar Country since 1997.   He has written a number of books and is the author of the leading English Language website on the Cathars ( 

One day Scheduled tours

"A seamless experience" 

The one day scheduled tours include lunch, transport and entry fees 

Join James for a small group tour to the historic treasures of the Languedoc. 


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