Travel Destinations in Languedoc France: Carcassonne France hotels, family vacation rentals in France

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Travel Destinations in Languedoc France
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Travel Destinations in Languedoc France

Travel Destination - Carcassonne, France

Part 4
by Wade Rowland

Driving a modern vehicle down these ancient passageways of Carcassone, France, through the main square with its giant well which provided security from long sieges, past the castle keep to the gargoyle-encrusted cathedral next door to our Carcassone hotel, was like living a page out of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

Carcasonne No wonder author Richard Halliburton was drawn here in his search for the romantic. France has arguably more romance per square mile than any other country in Europe, but the pocket of the country for which Carcassonne provides a focal point is the fountainhead of the very notion itself. The literary form we call romance has its roots in the writings of the troubadours who first appeared here in the region known as Languedoc in the eleventh century. Poets and wandering minstrels to a remarkably open and tolerant society, they wrote of freedom and justice and gallantry and of a kind of courtly love that was entirely new to literature.

In troubadour castles throughout the south of France - Puivert and Les Baux are among the most famous - women of the nobility established "courts of love" in which they defined suitable subject matter for troubadour songs, maintained the rules of grammar of the native langue d'oc and provided advice for the lovelorn. Their poetry competitions were the talk of the land and the winners were crowned with peacock feathers.

From the ninth to the thirteenth century, Languedoc was the social, cultural and political cockpit of France.There was a strong tradition in Languedoc and in the region of Carcassonne in particular, of questioning Christian orthodoxy as represented by a poorly-trained, dissolute and avaricious Catholic clergy. All over Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries groups of the faithful were seeking a return to first principles and a new purity of faith.

But it was in Languedoc that the strongest of these movements took root. Known as Catharism (from the Greek katharos: purity), it held that the world of God was the world of the spirit, while the material world, the world of time, was the realm of the Devil. Thus anything to do with the body - eating, drinking, marriage and procreation, material possessions - was inherently evil. Rules of conduct for the priestly class, the white-robed "perfecti" , were drawn from the Christian Gospels and strictly applied: the taking of life was forbidden and the perfecti were strict vegetarians. Fasting was frequent; celibacy was obligatory.

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Travel Destinations - Travel reports from the world's best international travel and adventure travel destinations worldwide. Visit Carcassone, France with author Wade Rowland in this in-depth article.

World Travel Guide - Travel article about travel in Languedoc France: long-term vacation rentals in France, gite rentals, family holidays in France, Carcassonne France hotels, Cathar castles

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