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Newsletter September/October 2015

Newsletter September/October 2015

One of my last tours this year. A wonderful tour. With three beautiful and lovely American ladies. It was both a spiritual tour and a photographic tour. The weather was perfect, the ladies were beautiful and the scenes were magnificent. We travelled through most the South of France. From east to west. I hope that this may serve as an inspiration for people who want to come to France and visit this area. For people who want to meet Mary Magdalene. And for people looking for the roots of Christianity. Or people who want some wonderful photo shoots. Let me take you by the hand and lead you to some of the most interesting places of the South of France.

St Maximim, the cave of Mary Magdalene, the Hotellerie

After picking up my guests, Angela, Lena and Sally at Marignane Airport in Marseille we went to St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume. There we visited the famous basilica dedicated to Ste Madeleine, the first pilgrim place of Mary Magdalene in France. Look at this beautiful basilica, at the strange light and at the many paintings and statues. I am happy to say that now the basilica and its religious relics are slowly being restored. There are many priceless artifacts in that basilica and some were in a bad state. In the crypt behind an iron grid and a glass wand, we find the skull of Mary Magdalene, at least so they say.

Then we drove to the Cave of Mary Magdalene in the Baume Massif. A nice climb of about 30 minutes along the Chemin des Roys, the Road of the Kings. There was a service going on led by three Dominican priests. Very special. Just before the cave we saw a life like crucifixion scene. In the cave itself is a piece of bone of Mary Magdalene and in the same cove is also a picture of a boat with several women and what seems to be a body. The view from the cave is magnificent.

At the foot of the Baume massif is the Hotellerie, run by Dominican nuns. It has a lovely chapel with beautiful fresco’s painting the life of Mary Magdalene and several lovely statues.

Marseille, Tarascon-sur-Rhone, Arles, Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer

It was a bit difficult to get to the center of Marseille, to ‘Le Vieux Port,’ but if you know where to get of the main road, just before the tunnel under the Old Harbor, it is easy. We visited the oldest church in Marseille the basilica St Victor. In the impressive crypt, dating from the 4th century, we found a beautiful Black Madonna, named the ND de Confession. Also a Panel depicting Mary Magdalene and close by the face of Lazarus. And the view from the church on the Old Harbor is great.

Next we went to Tarascon-sur-Rhone. With its imposing castle, with its church dedicated to Ste Martha and its fearsome Dragon. The dragon that is said to be conquered by Martha by holding a cross in front of its face. My American friends had other ways of conquering the dragon. In the church is a very special panel of a sexy Mary Magdalene. And the light shining through the church windows was so special that it beautifully illuminated the faces of my friends. Yes, remember, this was also a photographic tour.

Then down to Arles. The city with its ancient amphitheater, with its Colosseum, with the church of Trophimus, with its huge obelisk and the café of Vincent van Gogh. A lively city.

Next we went to Les-Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer. By way of a side road that enabled us to cross a side arm of the Rhone by ferry. The girls were trilled to see the Mediterranean Sea. And equally thrilled by the wonderful shopping opportunities in Stes Maries. Unfortunately the church was closed. A major renovation was taking place, lasting till the spring of next year. With a last look at the sea we finally headed for Rennes-le-Chateau.

 

Rennes-le-Chateau

We were lucky. Exactly on the day we arrived in Rennes-le-Chateau, two famous artists were giving a performance in the church of Rennes-le-Chateau that night and the following night. David Baily, the well-known pianist and Patrick Hyland a famous Irish tenor. First we had dinner in the restaurant ‘Le Dragon’, previously known as ‘Les Pommes Blues’ and then we went to the church. It was a magnificent performance. Really great. What a voice and what magnificent piano playing. And so good to see the church used for these kinds of performances. There were standing ovations. Afterwards we were all treated to a glass of Blanquette de Limoux.

The next day we paid another visit to the church where I explained several of the 96 anomalies that could be found in this magical church of Berenger Sauniere. The ladies loved it.

 

Campagne-les-Bains, the Cave of MM, St Salvayre, Alet-les-Bains

In Campagne-les-Bains we find the Source of the Mother Goddes. Two steams of water coming out of the hill. A site that is always good for some nice pictures.

And a ‘must see’ place is of course the Cave of Mary Magdalene, close to La Source/Les Labadous. In fact there are three caves, all close together. Next to the cave of MM is the birthing cave, a cave with a special energy. And a little further the newly discovered Jesus Cave.

Then we took a quick trip to Quillan to visit the wonderful shop of Joke and Franklin called ‘La Renaissance.’

One of my favorite places is St Salvayre. A hamlet, high up the mountain east of Alet-les-Bains. It has a lovely, little church. An enigmatic church. Subject to some of the most wonderful stories. On the way up the hill is a huge field of chalk, perfect for taking pictures.

In Alet-les-Bains itself we have a beautiful church, the most magnificent abbey ruin in France, a statue of Diana, the house of the Grandparents of Nostradamus and a source, with wonderful, soft drinking water, all for free.

 

Market, Rennes-les-Bains, Serres, Gorges de Galamus, Nebias

Another ‘must see’ item is the market in Esperaza. It has become a famous tourist attraction. It is so easy, so colorful and so lovely old-fashioned. Selling all home made products. Then we went to the Camp Grand, east of Couiza, with its many capitelles. And past the church of Cassaignes, with on its door the signature of Berenger Sauniere, so they say, to Serres with its beautiful bridge and a great view on the Pech Cardou.

Then to another ‘must see’ item the Fauteuil du Diable, better known as the seat of Isis. I don’t know who gave it that name, but it stuck. Next to a small source called ‘Le Cercle.’ Walking further up the hill we finally come to the Roches Tremblantes, the Trembling Rocks, an old sacred place of the Druids, so they say. With on the front a doorway to other dimensions.

And then one more ‘must see’ place, the Fontaine des Amours, the Fountain of lovers also in Rennes-les-Bains. What a wonderful place. You can feel the love that emanates from the water. Love is in the air, everywhere.

This would be a busy day. We went further east past the famous male mountain the Pech Bugarach, to the Gorges the Galamus, with the hermitage of St Antoine. What a special place this is. All the people we take there are flabbergasted.

And if that was not enough for one day, but remember we were guiding Americans and they always want to see as much as possible, we went to the “Labyrinth of Nebias.’ Well, in fact it is not a labyrinth at all, but rather a huge maze. A marvelous place.

 

Montsegur, Cave of Bethlehem, Caves of Baulou

Another ‘must see’ place is of course the Cathar Castle of Montsegur, where on March 16, 1244 over 225 Cathars were burned alive. En route to Montsegur we passed Chateau Puivert, the castle of the troubadours and a little further the enigmatic cave of Fontestorbes, with its rising and falling water levels. Walking up to the Montsegur is a pilgrimage. Many people like to stay there for a while, feeling the energy, enjoying the view.

But another ‘must see’ place was waiting for us, one of the most well known initiation caves of the Cathars, the Cave of Bethlehem. With its altar stone and its pentagram. Many ceremonies were held here. Close by is the Chapel of the ND de Sabart with one of the most beautiful Black Madonna’s I have ever seen. Found, so the story goes, by the horse of Charlemagne.

The final ‘piece de resistance’ were the caves in Baulou. Housing the beautiful statues of Mary Magdalene in one cave and Jesus in another cave. A highly emotional place.

 

Dressed up, Lourdes and goodbye to France/Les Labadous

As if the ladies themselves were not beautiful enough they had to enhance their beauty by dressing up in beautiful costumes. And it worked, see how it worked, their beauty shone through. On the last day of their visit I drove them to Lourdes, another ‘must see’ place. It was a 3.5 hour drive from Rennes-le-Chateau. After dropping them in their hotel I paid a short visit to the sanctuary. The Cave, the candles, the washing facilities, the cathedral and the church built on top of the hill with its chapel dedicated to Bernadette.

Since this will probably be the last newsletter of this year I would like you to see how beautiful La Source now is, all dressed up in autumn colored Ivy. And finally take the sunrise over the Pech Cardou to your heart, dear friends!

 
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Les Labadous / La Source
Newsletter Ireland, August 2015
 

Comments 1

Guest - Thomas Ouëndag on Friday, 16 October 2015 06:41

Schitterende, waardevolle, spirituele rondreis. Mooi gedaan en omschreven, fraaie foto's.
Bedankt Jaap.

Heel bijzonder.

Schitterende, waardevolle, spirituele rondreis. Mooi gedaan en omschreven, fraaie foto's. Bedankt Jaap. Heel bijzonder.
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