Some Guided Tours for You

Guided tours

First some impressions. Let it be known, if it is not already known, that I love to take people around. And that I love to tell them about the magic and mysteries of this beautiful, this Holy Land. And that I love to show them the most exotic and wonderful places in this country. Especially places with a high energy and places that are hard to find. And that I love to take pictures. Of the places where we go and of the people I am guiding. 

Let me show you some of the tours I did in August 2012 and below some happy customers. In case you are interested in taking a Guided Tour with me do contact me.


Tours close by

The tours close by are of course a visit to the enigmatic church of Rennes-le-Château, dedicated to Mary Magdalene. A church full of anomalies, 96 of them. And to the cave of Mary Magdalene , the birthing cave and a recently discovered third cave. Now there are three caves in one location, like a holy trinity. See these lovely people standing in front of the hill with the red earth, the starting point of our walk to the cave. And the mothers with their daughters walking to the cave.







 Two touring  ladies

I always take or point the people to the plateau south of Rennes-le-Château where once, so they say, a temple of Lemuria stood. In my view the most magic place in Rennes-le-Château. A place where many ceremonies were, and are, held and where you can witness beautiful sunsets


Sunset over the plateau

    Further to the Source of Isis, also called the source of the Mother Goddess, in Campagne-les-Bains where magic pictures can be taken through an opening in the rock formations {PIC 05}. And beautiful pictures in front of the source! {PIC 05a}.

    Then to Alet-les-Bains where we visit the church with the enigmatic wall painting of Mary Magdalene with an oriental man, carrying a shield with a dragon, standing behind her {PIC 05b}. The beautiful ruins of the abbey {PIC 06}, the palace of the bishop, now a good restaurant, the beautiful garden {PIC 07}, the spring where clean and tasty water can be had, for free, the new Galerie des Anges {PIC 07a} with the lovely Lorrie signing her books {PIC 07b}, the house of Nostradamus and the statue of Diana above a fountain with the head of the Green Man {PIC 07c}.  

     And let’s not miss the opportunity to go up the hill east of Alet to enjoy the view and to visit the beautiful little church of St Salvayre, where just at that time three people were playing music {PIC 08}.


     In Rennes-les-Bains we will visit the Fauteuil du Diable, the seat of the Devil, with next to it the source called Le Cercle, Les Roches Tremblantes, the trembling rocks, the Fontaine des Amours with this heart cut out by the water {PIC 08a}, the hot water spring and the lovely market square with its café and pizzeria. Then onto the majestic castle of Arques, with its Cathar museum, Peyrolles with the land of the Red Earth, Serres with its beautiful bridge, the village of Couiza with the Camp Grand and the many capitelles, the village of Bugarach with its strange church {PIC 09} and of course the two sacred mountains, the Pech Cardou, the female mountain and the Pech Bugarach, the male mountain.  

     And enjoy this  picture, taken in Bugarach, showing life in France {PIC 10}.


Day trips

The most popular trips are going north, going east and going west.


The first place to visit is Limoux, known for its carnival and the Blanquette de Limoux. We go to the church of St Martin in the centre and to the basilica of the ND de Marceille {PIC 11}, a little north of Limoux. And to the abbey of St Polycarpe, east of Limoux. With its huge tower {PIC 12} and its beautiful painting of Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ sisters {PIC 13}.        

    Further north is the abbey of St Hilaire and then of course the famous Cite of Carcassonne. A Unesco World heritage site. It was incredibly busy this season {PIC 14}. How strange that on the most beautiful places no one can be seen while on the well-known, very touristy places, it is crowded. Further north is the Cathar castle of Lastours, the cave of Cabrespine, the abbey of Caunes-Minervois and the lovely church of the ND du Cros with its Black Madonna and sacred spring. On the way to Minerve we can see, on a hill, the magic Dolmen de Fades {PIC 15}. And in Minerve itself the underground tunnel {PIC 16} and the huge bridge over the river {PIC 17}.



     There is so much to be seen in the west. Too much for one day. Like the church of Brenac, the natural labyrinth of Nebias, Puivert, the castle of the troubadours, the ND du Val d’Amour in Belesta with its Black Madonna, the spring of Fontestorbes with its rising and falling water and of course the most famous of all, the Cathar castle of Montsegur {PIC 18}. Where one should lay a rose at the monument placed there in 1960 in memory of the 225 Cathars that were burned in the field on March 16th 1244 {{PIC 18a}.  Climbing the mountain, the ‘pog’, takes about half an hour, but be careful for the stones are slippery {PIC 19}.

    Going further west we pass the castle of Roquefixade. Then on the motorway between Toulouse and Andorra, we head south to Ussat-les-Bains, to the initiation caves of the Cathars. Those magic, sometimes huge caves in the Sacred Mountain {PIC 19a}. And to the Chapel of Sabart in Tarascon-sur Ariege, with its beautiful Black Madonna, found by the horse of Charlemagne {PIC 20}.

     Then north to Foix. With its famous church of St Volusien {PIC 21}, where in the tableau of the Last Supper clearly a woman can be seen, sitting next to Jesus {PIC 22}. The church is open to the public and the tableau is for all to see. Then a slight detour to Baulou, to the cave of Mary Magdalene in the remains of the old Carol Monastery {PIC 23}. On the way back we should not miss the rock church of Vals {PIC 24} with its famous wall paintings {PIC 25}. The last stop will be Mirepoix with its impressive cathedral of St Maurice {PIC 26}, its magnificent, moving stations of the cross and the chapel of Mary Magdalene. And of course the market, the many shops, the restaurants and the houses with its carved figures {PIC 27}.



     We will first go to the Gorges de Galamus where we travel the famous road that was hacked out of the rocks in the 19th century. And visit the Hermitage de St Antoine, the cave of Mary Magdalene, filled with our lovely Spanish group {PIC 28} and the church built inside the rock. Continuing through the Gorges we come to St Paul de Fenouillet, with is special dome, its good restaurants and the many ‘Caves Cooperatives’. Going further east we come to Maury, situated right in the middle of the famous wine territory Cotes du Roussillon. Then up the hill to Queribus, the last Cathar castle, together with Puilaurens, to fall {PIC 28a}. 

     Then to the touristy village of Cucugnan with its Mill of Omer and Marie Enceinte, the pregnant Mary, in the church {PIC 28b}. Further west are the castles of Aguilar, and of Opoul and the fortress of Salses. Well known is the cave of Perillos, presented many times in my newsletters and nearby Fitou where Mary Magdalene might have come to France.  

     On the coast just south of Perpignan is the lovely port of Collioure, a bit touristy, but lovely. With a church at the seafront containing several paintings of Mary Mary Magdalene.


Further away
     The most famous trip to the east, taking one or two days, is the trip to Aigues Mortes and Les-Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Aigues Mortes, the walled city from where the 7th and 8th crusade took off, was crowded {PIC 28c}. But not as crowded as Les-Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The cars were lined up miles before the city, most likely from people heading for the beach. On the way back it is good to visit Arles, Tarascon-sur-Rhone, Beaucaire and St Gilles.

    Going further east, and now we are talking about three or four day trips, we can visit the basilica of St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume, the most important pilgrim site for Mary Magdalene {PIC 29}. The place where the skull and bones of Mary Magdalene are supposedly kept in the crypt {PIC 30}. Next we should visit the Cave of Mary Magdalene in the Baume Massif, near Plan d’Aups. A climb of half an hour, but worthwhile. We can stay in the Hotellerie La Ste Baume, at the foot of the Baume Massif. The Hotellerie is run by Dominican nuns and has a lovely chapel with beautiful wall paintings of Mary Magdalene.

     On the way back we will visit Aix-en-Provence. An artistic city, as can be seen by this statue of a naked male climbing the tower {PIC 31}. A city with an impressive cathedral and a church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. The church is being renovated, a process that is taking several years. Maybe they will, in the process, find the real tomb of Mary Magdalene, for there are persistent stories that she is buried in that city. A city much closer to Marseille than St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume.

Several other day trips are possible. For example to Albi and Rocamadour in the north, to Lourdes in the west and to Montserrat, near Barcelona, in the south.

St Martin-Vesubie

     When I brought one of my clients to Les-Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer I thought why not go a little further and visit one of the famous Black Madonna’s in France. One that I had never seen before. The Black Madonna de Fenestre of St. Martin-Vesubie. High up in the mountains, over 1900 metres high in the French Alps, about 60 km north of Nice and close to the Italian border. What a wonderful setting.

     A cloister and some buildings situated against a background of mountains over 3.000 metres high {PIC 32}. And inside the church the beautiful ND de Fenestre {PIC 33}. For those who would like to visit this place be warned that it is incredibly busy around cities like Cannes and Nice and that  finding the way to Vesubie in this complex maze of roads requires a Tom Tom and a quick reaction speed.




     Then, sometimes I am really a bit crazy, I thought, well now that I am so close to Italy, why not go a little further and visit Lucca and Florence. I always wanted to go to Lucca and see the ‘Volto Santo’, the sacred face of Jesus. A face painted, so they say, when Jesus hang on the cross. A painting brought by Nicodemus to Lucca, when he and Joseph of Arimathea were on their way to Rhedae and Glastonbury.

    I have a painting of the Volto Santo which shows this face {PIC 34}. The way to Lucca was not as easy as I thought. Almost 5 hours along the coast with hundreds of bridges, tunnels and speed limits varying from 60 to 120 km’s. Beautiful views and dense traffic. But it was worthwhile. The beautiful walled city of Lucca is full of churches and magnificent buildings. The Volto Santo is in the cathedral {PIC 35}. But it is not a painting, it is a statue of Jesus hanging at the cross {PIC 36}. Kept away from the public, situated in a little chapel, closed off by a metal fence.

    It was hot in Lucca, but they had an ingenious system of cooling places. Fine water particles were dispersed over the tent {PIC 37}. Then on to Florence.

    Dear friends, if you ever consider going to Florence, don’t go by car. Take a plane, a train, a taxi or bus, but don’t go by car. It is a crime to get to the centre. But I did, finally, and parked my car close to the wall {PIC 38}.

Then I visited all the well-known places, Theseus with the head of Medusa {PIC 39}, the famous Ponte Vecchio {PIC 39} and the magnificent cathedral {PIC 40}. All ‘loaded’ with people.

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