Exploring Cathar Country: Detailed Itinerary Now Available

Exploring Cathar Country (April 28-May 7, 2018): A Photographic Journey with Harold Davis

The detailed itinerary for this photographic pilgrimage into the historic and spiritual world of the Cathars and southwest France is now available. Click here to download the PDF.

Click here for overview information and here for the Reservation Form (early-bird discount applies through November 15, 2017)

In the twelfth century in the part of the world that is today southwestern France, a new set of religious beliefs coalesced and came to be known as the Cathar heresy. The Cathars believed in a supreme being and god of light, utterly unconcerned with matters of this world, and in a direct individual interaction with this god with no need for inter-mediation by the hierarchy of an established religion.

As one would expect, this view was anathema to the Catholic Church. In the early 1200s the church unleashed the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heresy under the aegis of the notorious Simon de Montfort. Power, religion, spirituality, and politics mixed, and by the end of the crusade the formerly independent country of Languedoc was firmly under the temporal sway of the King of France and the religious sway of the Catholic Church.

Pont Vieux, Albi © Harold Davis

Against the backdrop of this romantic and dramatic history, we will explore the ancient centers of Catharism. In Albi, the birthplace of the artist Toulouse-Lautrec, we will walk across the bridge that spans the River Tarn and has been in continuous use for a thousand years, and marvel at the Basilica of Saint Cecile, built as a symbol of religious intolerance. In Carcassone, we will spend time exploring the incredibly romantic reconstruction of a medieval citadel by Viollet-le-Duc.

Carcassone © Harold Davis

Moving into the mountains, from a comfortable base we will explore the crags and remote fastnesses of the Pyrénées-Orientales. No one will ever forget a visit to the melancholy Montsegur, where following a devastating siege, hundreds of Cathars hurled themselves into the abyss or were burnt at the stake rather than renounce their faith, or to the Château de Quéribus, where the last of the Cathars eked out their wilderness survival against a world that seemed to have gone mad.

Château de Quéribus © Harold Davis

Wild, craggy peaks and deep canyon valleys dominate the Pyrénées-Orientales in scenery somewhat reminiscent of parts of the American West. The Pyrénées-Orientales and old Languedoc is a region where the wildness of the landscape and the flavor of Spanish cuisine mingles with traditional French culture to create a unique and very special world apart. 

While the primary emphasis of this journey will be photography, we’ll also take the time to learn more about Catharite beliefs, enjoy the unique culture, wild scenery, and cuisine of Cathar Country and the Pyrénées-Orientales.

Château de Saissac © Harold Davis

The detailed itinerary for this photographic pilgrimage into the historic and spiritual world of the Cathars and southwest France is now available. Click here to download the PDF.

Click here for overview information and here for the Reservation Form (early-bird discount applies through November 15, 2017).

This entry was posted in Photography, Workshops.

One Comment

  1. Carla March 22, 2018 at 1:34 am #

    The so called “Cathar Country” – “Pays Cathare” – is one of the most beautiful and romantic region of France. Not only is the history of the Cathars a mysterious, dramatic and fascinating but the region itself is charming with fields of olive orchards and vineyards, hills covered by mediterranean vegetation ….http://southweststory.com/catharism-short-history

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*