Introduction to the Cathar ride

Just a few word about the Cathars.

Catharism was a religion of Christian inspiration but which refused some main features of the Roman Catholicism such as baptism with the water or the sign of the cross or weeding and they also refuse all type of materialism. The origin of this religion is often located in the area of is now Bulgaria.

Cathar war was a real Crusade ordered by the pope. On the military side it was carried away by French nobles from the north part of France who did not have any land and who were threatening the power of the King of France.

On the religious side it was carried by the Inquisition led by Dominique de Guzmann

The king of France also felt threatened by the brilliant civilization developed in the southern part of France around TOULOUSE. This Crusade was also for the king of France a way to get rid of those 2 threats at once.

This Crusade started on the 22 of July 1209 with the massacre of thousands people in BEZIERS and it finished almost 50 years later with the surrender of Queribus Castle during spring 1258. This Crusade took place in a perimeter situated between the cities of Toulouse , Castres, Béziers, Narbonne, Perpignan and Foix. The Battles were terribles and the inquisition ran by Dominique de Guzmann was merciless .

Lots of battles and gueriila fights took place in the hilly area of Corbières located in an area between the cities of Carcasonne at the north, Perpignan at the south and Narbonne at the east. The fortified city of Carcasonne was probably the strongest symbol of the resistance and independence of southern cities . The Corbières is full of deep gorges and ruin of those cathars castels often located in incredibly splendid spot. While riding in those small remotes roads let your imagination think about those remote days where incredible battle took place. It will add a lot to your ride and you might be surprised to find that some of those place have kept a spiritual aspect. This beiing said this is a terrific area for bikes rides and Corbières wine is quite well known.