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Toulouse: Pilgrims and Heretics

3 March 2021

5 days from £1,950pp

The region of the Midi-Pyrénées in the heart of south-western France is one of the country’s most beautiful and unspoilt areas. The diversity of the landscape is matched by the wealth of its heritage, from singing troubadours to pious pilgrims and rebellious heretics. Brick-built Toulouse, or ‘la ville rose’ is our picturesque base for this tour.
The region of the Midi-Pyrénées in the heart of south-western France is one of the country’s most beautiful and unspoilt areas. The diversity of the landscape is matched by the wealth of its heritage, from singing troubadours to pious pilgrims and rebellious heretics. During the 11th century two of the four principle French pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela traversed the area: religious tourism brought about inner peace, economic stability and wealth, leading to a golden age of art and architecture. This manifests itself in richly decorated Romanesque churches: at Moissac, with its magnificent tympanum and perfectly preserved cloisters abundantly adorned with sculptural capitals; at Conques, built to accommodate the large numbers of pilgrims and lead them to contemplate the unparalleled shrine of Sainte-Foy; and at Toulouse, which displays a collection of exceptional marble reliefs and a wealth of reliquaries in its cavernous crypt. 
 
Alongside this manifestation of Catholic faith, however, rose the anti-sacerdotal Cathar movement, provoking political and religious turmoil. Culminating in rebellion, suppression, massacre and annihilation, the impact of Albigensian heresy of the 12th and 13th centuries can be seen in the stunning defensive building, such as the great fortress-like cathedral of Albi. More recently, the lively town of Albi was the home of Toulouse-Lautrec, and today holds the best collection of his work – a Bohemian antidote of the Belle Époque to mediaeval spirituality. Brick-built Toulouse, or ‘la ville rose’, also has a spirited history – it was once the brilliant centre of troubadour poetry – and is our picturesque base for this tour.

Your Accommodation

Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra

★★★★
Overview
Stay in a unique venue that combines a rich history with all modern comforts. A former XVII Century convent, The Grand Hôtel de l'Opéra is a 4* hotel located in the centre of Toulouse on the Place du Capitole. A refined ambiance with attentive service providing a calm, comfortable space with a cosy atmosphere.
Room Facilities & Amenities
  • Air conditioned rooms
  • Telephone, minibar, safe 
  • Free WiFi 
  • Satellite TV featuring Canal + Bein Sport