Walk into the haunting land of Heresy and the Holy Grail
8-days €2500 Date: May 8-15, 2019 & September 2- 9, 2019
Join Spanish Steps on this stunning walk across the mystical Cathar country in southwest France, where one of the most controversial events of history took place amid the verdant foothills of the Pyrenees. Eight hundred years after the persecution of the Cathars, thousands of modern pilgrims hike the Cathar Way through old Occitania each year to remember these martyrs and discover their secrets.
During our 8-day journey, we’ll follow in the footsteps of the heroes and villains of the Albigensian Crusade. We’ll listen for the echoing voices of famous troubadours who sang in spectacular but now-abandoned chateaux, kneel in abbeys that once welcomed St. Dominic and his inquisitors and dodge imaginary missiles launched from the catapults of the despised commander of the Catholic army, Simon de Montfort.
Cathar country is rich in the legends of Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail, which is thought by some to have been protected here by the Cathars and Knights Templar. We’ll climb to the ruins of the holy castle of Montsegur, once owned by a famous viscountess who is still worshipped in France as the Cathar Joan of Arc. We’ll also visit Rennes-le-Château, a village shrouded in mystery and suggested as a proposed hiding place of a mysterious Cathar treasure made famous by The Da Vinci Code.
The bucolic landscapes of our journey will be as varied and breathtaking as the world-changing events that took place on them: Sun-kissed vineyards and beech forests; looming crags with ramparts of medieval Carcassonne and Foix; deep limestone gorges studded with ancient hermitages of monks; and prehistoric caves where the persecuted took refuge.
Throughout our trek, we’ll stay in charming inns and gites of rural Pyrenean villages shadowed by the historic rocky peaks and their Cathar ruins. Each evening, we’ll discuss our discoveries and trade impressions of the day’s walk while sampling wonderful Corbieres wines and exploring another mystery of the region–the secrets of delicious Occitan dishes.
We hope you’ll come and walk with us into the haunting land of Heresy and the Holy Grail.
8-days of glorious hiking with 7-nights of carefully selected accommodations, visits to historical sites both on and off the Cathar route. All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners are also part of this tour.
- Transportation from Carcassone to Foix (Train Stations)
- 7 nights of “Charming” hotels with private bathrooms
- Bi-lingual guides
- Informational handouts
- Full van support w/ driver
- Castle Entry Credential (passport)
- All breakfasts
- Healthy snacks provided by your guides
- 4 picnic lunches
- 4 Dinners with regional wines
- Regular check points on the trail
- Guided historical tour of select castles or museums.
- May 8 – 15, 2019
- September 2-9 *New Date
- Private Tour Dates available upon request
PRIVATE tailor-made trips are available upon request. Please ask us for details.
This trip was designed by Glen Craney, an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist and lawyer. After receiving degrees from Columbia Quarterly magazine. His historical novel about the Cathars, The Fire and the Light, has received several honors, including being named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Committee and a Finalist for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. He is also a recipient of the Nicholl Fellowship award given by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for best new screenwriting. His travels around the world have found him playing baseball in Cuba, walking the biblical sites of Israel, exploring the Secret Vatican Archives in Rome, and climbing Templar castles in Scotland and France. A veteran of the Camino trek with Spanish Steps, he wrote of his experiences on the trail with Judy and her gang in the February, 2004 issue of The Robb Report.For more information on The Fire and the Light and the Cathars, visit Glen’s website at: www.glencraney.com and watch his book trailer at: www.glencraney.com