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France, you say…

August 5, 2014
Our route - St. Antonin Noble Val to Saissac

Our route – St. Antonin Noble Val to Saissac


Yes, France.  What better place to spend the summer along the banks of the Canal du Midi and the Montagne Noir, sipping Blanquette de Limoux and hunting for truffles.


Herve, Connie and Evelyne on the upper patio St. Antonin

We left our friends, Herve and Evelyne, in St. Antonin Noble Val, and headed south past Albi to the

Strolling the streets of St. Antonin down to the Saturday market

Strolling the streets of St. Antonin down to the Saturday market

Montagne Noir descending down to Saissac, our home for the summer.

Albi was our first exposure to the history of the Cathars with Albi acting as one of the centres combating the threat to the Catholic Church posed by the Cathars.

The central cathedral in Albi is an imposing structure that speaks to power.  An imposing building with sheer walls rising  hundreds of feet above the central square.

We spend part of the day wandering the streets of Albi visiting the inside of the cathedral, the Toulouse-Lautrec museum and the gardens of the Abbey.

All of these remarkable places are the introduction to the Cathar history permeating the Midi-Pyrennes region of south central France.

Albi Cathedral

Albi Cathedral



Gardens attached to the Cathedral in Albi











We are going to hear and visit many of the places the Cathars resided and died in subsequent to the inquisition and persecution of the 13th centrury.

We left in the mid afternoon headed to Castres and Mazamet and up into the Montagne Noir.  It was a beautiful drive along well maintained roads, lovely fields of sunflowers, wheat and grapevines and then through the dark paths of the Montagne Noir.

Then it was over the top of the Montagne Noir and down into Saissac, an ex-Cathar village of some 2000 people and the remains of incredibly well fortified castle/chateau of which much remains from what was constructed starting in 958A.D.  Subsequent construction continued on right up into the 18th century by various parties including the Cathars.  It was one of the strongholds of the Cathars but fell to assault in 1234.

This is our home for the summer:

The inside of our home at #4 Place aux Herbes, Saissac

The inside of our home at #4 Place aux Herbes, Saissac

The outside of our summer home #4 Place Aux Herbes, Saissac

The outside of our summer home #4 Place Aux Herbes, Saissac










5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2014 02:54

    Montagne Noire, une montagne is feminine . Lastours castles and Minerve as a Cathar fortified city are more impressive if you want to stay around . But the most stunning Cathar fortresses are in the Pyrenees : Monségur, Peyrepertuse, Quéribus and Puylaurens .

  2. Annie Boldt permalink
    August 5, 2014 16:02

    Pardon my ignorance but i have never heard of the ‘Cathars’ until this blog!!
    But maybe I could tell you a few things about the Air show in Nelson last weekend you have never heard of before! Ha ha!
    Annie B.

  3. August 6, 2014 08:43

    Oooh, lovely, you two!

    That was the area I meandered around in 2006 in what I thought was my last chance to travel outside Canada. I loved every minute. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

    Much love,

    J Jean Macleod le Cheminant, B.A. CELTA, B. Ed

    • August 6, 2014 08:59

      It’s great and we are enjoying

      Tony Gibb


  4. Louise permalink
    August 7, 2014 15:46

    Looks wonderful!

    Annie, an air show?!

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