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A guidebook to walking the Cathar Way, a waymarked trail through France’s southwest, linking historic castles. This 250km (two-week) route runs through the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Languedoc region of southern France, from the Mediterranean to Foix. A challenging, fascinating and rewarding route, but not an arduous mountain trek. The trail runs from the Mediterranean coast westward to the historic town of Foix. It can be walked in two weeks or less by anyone who is well-equipped and moderately fit. Good-quality accommodation is available at regular intervals along the entire length of the trail. The trail traverses the dramatic foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, a beautiful countryside which enjoys plenty of sunshine and is rich in wildlife. The highlights of the Cathar Way are the ‘castles in the sky’ like Quéribus, Peyrepertuse and Montségur. These incredible medieval fortifications will forever be associated with the ill-fated Cathar ‘heresy’, which was brutally suppressed in the thirteenth century.
Acerca de Alan Mattingly
Alan Mattingly was Director of the Ramblers’ Association in Britain from 1974 to 1998. A member of the Outdoor Writers’ Guild, he received that organisation’s Golden Eagle Award in 1998. His previous publications include Tackle Rambling (1981), Walking in the National Parks (1982) and Walking in the Cathar Region (Cicerone, 2005). He is now based in Vernet-les-Bains, in the eastern Pyrenees. There, he teaches English, writes – and is at last able to spend much more time in the great outdoors than was possible when he led a walkers’ organisation based in central London! He has spent recent years exploring in detail country where the famous Cathar castles of southern France are located. These medieval fortresses are mostly perched on vertiginous limestone pinnacles and command fantastic views of the surrounding hills, mountains, forests and vineyards. In the thirteenth century they gave shelter to the Cathars, a heretical sect of Christians who defied, but who were ultimately crushed by, Church and Crown. “Their history,” he says, “is full of drama and mystery. It is as fascinating as the landscape in which it all took place.”
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