The Cathar Memorial at Les Cassès
This windy promontory is an unforgettable place which you need to visit, or at least know about, if you have any interest in the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade.
The Mémorial Cathare was created in 2011 to mark the 800th anniversary of a mass burning carried out here by Simon de Montfort and the Bishop of Toulouse. It’s an hour’s bike ride from my home and I have been here a dozen times without meeting a living soul. But instead of tranquillity, I am always filled with a sense of desolation. How can I admire the splendour of the Pyrenees and the Montagne Noire without reflecting on the brutalities committed by both sides during the crusade? The memorial also tests your knowledge of this tragic period of French history.
The centrepiece of the memorial is a thick sheet of iron plate mounted vertically on a block of stone. Shapes have been cut out from the iron to create an image of a heretic being burned at the stake, based on an engraving from the mid-thirteenth century.
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Colin Duncan Taylor
"I have been living in the south of France for 20 years, and through my books and my blog, I endeavour to share my love for the history and gastronomy of Occitanie and the Pyrenees."