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Susan's Blog

Montsegur

Susan Marek

Montsegur, or safe mountain, sits a top a strangely shaped mountain.  It was the last hold out in the Albigensian Crusades, with the Cathars being burned at the foot of the mountain in March of 1244. 
Montsegur from parking lot

Montsegur from monument

Most of the group took on the challenge of hiking to the top.  It is a very steep climb through a small forest which then opened to a rocky path to the summit.  We stopped first at  monument to the Cathars who were murdered at the base.
Cathar Monument, Montsegur

Half way there...
Half way there

The fortress at the top of the mountain is not the Cathar stronghold.  It is a fortress build after the Cathars were driven out.  The king must of thought it was a great place to set up shop after the Cathars held out for so long. 

fortress at Montsegur

The original building was made from stone and wood.  The outline of some of the small rooms the Cathars used can be seen below. 
Cathar rooms at Montsegur

I got a strong sense of peace here and had visions of laughing children running through these rooms while adults worked and taught.  The view was spectacular.  Except for a few cow bells in the distance, we experienced a silence that was blessed and magical.  Besides a sense of accomplishment from making it up and down the mountain without dying, I felt overwhelmed by the love and peace of this place.  It is so interesting how many of the sites we visited had such atrocities committed in their midst, yet the energy is peaceful and loving.  It is truly a testament to how love conquers all and the way in which these beautiful Cathar people lived. 

I left southern France the next day and drove up north to visit Chartres and Paris.  First stop on the way, Vezelay!