Post written by walk-bike-camino .com
Foix is the former capital of the County of Foix. Today the main town of the Ariège department in southwestern France, Occitany region, even if it is in reality the second least populous administrative centre of a department in France, after Privas (Ardèche).
This is a Pyrenenan region a place squeezed between the Mediterranean eastern side of the Pyrenees range and the Highest peaks department called the High Pyrenees (near Lourdes and Tarbes). It is considered as a wild authentic area.
The Cathar Trail follows the Cathar Castles remains, starts from the Mediterranean side in Port la Nouvelle and ends in Foix 14 walking stages later.
The Catharism has developed during the 12th century,in Southern France along the Eastern side of the Pyrenees and Occitany,
The Cathar considered themselves as the real Christians who follow the Christ’s ideal of living in poverty and opposed to Rome’s Church and their wealth.
The Church, afraid of their influence, decided to start the crusade against the Albigeans. Although catharism was eradicated, it is still one of the symbols of tolerance, freedom and open-mindedness of the occitan culture. It is deeply rooted in Occitany identity.
Nowadays, a few traces remains of this period. Castles, abbeys and museums of the Cathar Country became symbols of this struggle :
Foix, Roquefixade Castle (a few km from Foix), Peyrepertuse, Queribus castles, Puivert as well as Montségur which is the symbol of the struggle of the Cathar agains Rome’s Church and its “army”are one of the places that you will discover if you follow the GR from Narbonne to Foix, in a 14 day walking tour.