Explore the Most Stunning Castles in Britain

When we think of The Crusades, we imagine the clashing of arms between Christian and Muslim warriors struggling to control the highly-coveted territory known as the Holy Land, with the ultimate goal of wresting the sacred city of Jerusalem from one another’s hands. However, there was a lesser known crusade undertaken by the Catholic Church in the 13th century that was not set in a distant land against “infidels,” but rather, directly in the heart of Europe against an enigmatic sect of Christians known as Cathars. Who exactly were the Cathars and what were the reasons why they presented such an imminent threat to the authority of the Catholic Church that would lead Pope Innocent III to call for a crusade to eradicate fellow Christians? These questions still baffle scholars to this day. This sojourn seeks to come to a greater understanding of the Cathars—their beliefs, traditions, and lifestyle—and the Catholic Church’s actions against them by journeying directly into the heart of the Cathar homeland in southwestern France, a verdant region bordering both the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees Mountains that is known as the Languedoc.

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