Exploring West

Just as in the east, the west has also much to offer. So we better take two days. First to Esperaza, then the inner road to Fa and Rouvenac and from there to the castle of Puivert. The castle of the troubadours and courtly love. From Puivert to Belesta with the ND du Val d’Amour and its Black Madonna. Then south. We pass the strange Fontaine the Fontestorbes where the water rises and falls every half hour. But our main objective is Montsegur. The famous Cathar castle. An awesome sight. The village is also pretty. It has a museum and a lovely church with  two Black Madonna’s.

     From the Montsegur we go north and then west to Foix. We might make a sidestep to the castle of Roquefixade. Foix is a big city with an impressive castle with three different towers. And a very special church, the church of St Volusien. Then south to Tarascon-sur-Ariege. The area around that city has much to offer. First of all the sacred mountain with the initiation caves of the Cathars at Ussat-les-Bains. Then the two huge caves, the Lombrives, the largest cave in Europe and the cave of Niaux.

     Just east of Tarascon is de ND de Sabarth with its Black Madonna and if we continue on this road we come to the castle of Montreal de Sos, also called the Grail castle, because of a special drawing in one of the caves. Nearby is also the huge stone of Sem.

    We could also have taken a more northerly route. First going to Limoux and then west to Chalabre. With its castle. From there to Mirepoix with is house decorated with carved woodenheads. And its marvellous cathedral.

    Then to Pamiers with a sidestep to the Rock church at Vals. In Pamiers the church and cathedral are worth a visit. Then on to the old capital of the Languedoc Toulouse. A beautiful city. There is so much to be seen. I will only name the basilica St Sernin and the ND de la Daurade with its magnificent Black Madonna.

     On he way back you can visit the church of Fanjeaux and further to the east he church of Montreal which houses a similar Asmodeus figure as the church in Rennes-le-Chateau.



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