In less than two and a half hours from Barcelona, Renfe-Sncf will take you to the "Cathar Country". Discover the mysteries and intoxicating beauty of this land shrouded in a veil of past.
The Cathar religion spreaded throughout southern France in the 10th century. Catharism opposed Catholicism in various concepts since they didn't consider God as the creator of the material world which enveloped all possible evil and suffering. To them, was mandatory to separate the spiritual part which was the only way to God, from the material part, the Devil's work. The Cathars, also called "good men" were considered heretics by the Catholic church and the nobility of the time, carrying out a crusade that would end this religion in the 13th century. Today we find many vestiges of Cathar's time, and we invite you to discover them.
The Cathar Jewel
View of the City - Carcassonne
The city of Carcassonne, along the Aude River, is the perfect base to explore the region in all directions. It's majestic "Cité", declared world's heritage by UNESCO, is a unique fortification in Europe. Perfectly restored, it's a paradise for history lovers with it's defensive walls architecture, 26 towers, watchtowers and look-outs, are a truthful example of medieval life. Furthermore, the architectural layout seen from the surroundings is an authentic postcard.
Besides, Carcassonne, there are many "must-see" places for the travelers who want to discover the Cathar world.North of the city, in direction to Beziers, we find
a group of castles: Lastours, Cabert, Tour Regine, Surdespine and Quetinheux. 4 strongholds that remained impregnable during the revolt against the Cathars carried out by the Catholic church due the enormous difficulty to access them, and became authentic medieval bastions.
View of the Castle - Lastours
However, if we headed east of Carcassonne, we will discover two of the most magnificent gems of the Cathar architecture.After crossing the magnificent Galamus gorges,
Peyrepertuse is without a doubt the most beautiful of all Cathar's castles. Located at 800 meters high, it's the region's crown's jewel and the best preserved. The difficult access to this castle is through an amazing staircase carved into the rock-wall that seems to be hanging in the void.
View of the Castle - Quéribus
Nearby this castle, we find the Quéribus Castle, a fortress located more than 730 meters high and the last Cathar resistance's bastion. It's interior with a Gothic room overlooks the region of Roussillon, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea, Quéribus is a must.
The end of the Cathars was cruel and painted in blood, the vast majority of the faithful believers died at hands of the Crusaders, but 700 years after that uprising, their crying still seems to echo with strength on the walls of their castles. A just fascinating route.