Montaillou. last Cathar village
Montaillou Travel Blog› entry 12 of 21 › view all entries
I would never have visited Montaillou, if I hadn't read the book of René Weis, called "The yellow cross: the story of the last Cathar's rebellion".
The Cathar religion formed a serious threath for the catholic church in the 13th century. The repression by the Inquisition took the lives of thousands of Cathars. Despite the brute persecution this brave sect floorished for the last time between 1290 and 1329 in the hamlet Montaillou. The statements done in that time by Montaillou inhabitants to Jacques Fournier of the Inquisition, bishop of Pamiers (and later pope Benedict XII), have been well kept in the Vatican archives for almost 700 years. The records were so precise that every aspect of the villagers' lives from them, from the minutiae of domestic economics to the details of their sexual habits, could be recreated. Weis was even able to draw a map of Montaillou with the location of houses and their owners.
Nowadays, only the remains of the castle are left upon the hill. Some excavations next to the ruins show the location of some medieval houses. At the foor of the hill is the present village, including the church with a graveyard where you can read the same surnames on the headstones as in the old records...