Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mysterious Cathar Country


Several days ago we desperately departed Paris for a few days to explore other areas of France with our boys. I’m afraid that Montana has spoiled us with its wide-open spaces and its big sky, because noisy/hectic city life can exhaust you.

We headed for the unspoiled Tarn region. I’m possessed with love for the breathtakingly beautiful fortified Bastide towns of Cathar country in the Southwest of France.  My DK guide book, balanced atop of my knees in Grand-mère's voiture says that the “Cathars were a secretive humanist sect supported by the Counts of Toulouse in the 12th and 13th centuries... and that this was the darkest periods in French history”. After a couple of days, edging our way through narrow winding streets, and trying to grasp the enormous history, I didn’t want to leave this place. In fact, while leaving the area, we stumbled upon an abandoned Bastide perched on a hillside with amazing views. If only I were Frances Mayes! Shhhhhh. I kept a weathered tile from it, so that I can find my way back here some day.