Saturday, 23 June 2012

French History Books – The Lauragais Story

Many people, that regularly read this blog, will probably be aware that Le Moulin, our holiday home here in France, is located only ten minutes from Castelnaudary and that Castelnaudary is the capital of the Lauragais region.

But what many people will not know, is how important a role the Lauragais played in the creation of France as we find it in modern times.

The Lauragais Story reveals this and much more about the region. It is an absolute mine of information regarding the history and places of interest that abound in this part of the Pays Cathar and a perfect travel companion for those that visit the area. It is for anyone interested in how the Lauragais came to be, where the wealth and prosperity of the region came from, who and what drove the construction of the Canal Du Midi, about the persecution of the Cathars and the role played by Simon De Montford. I could go on because there is plenty more information beyond the snippets provided, but then I might spoil a few more of the surprises the book throws up.

All I will say is that the story starts with a discussion about how crocodile bones can be found in the Montagne Noire and ends with how some young men had the interesting experience of finding a mushroom growing upside down in the Ariege. That last statement was never really properly explained other than to say it was in the local news as the book was finished. In other words this history story had found its way right up to the present day. Of course there has been more history created since then, but I suspect that will be the subject of another book.

About the Author

So then Jewels of French History Books - The Lauragais Storyis a brand new book written by a local historian, Hugh Nicklin. Hugh studied history at Oxford and has travelled the world working in England, Wales, India and the Balkans. He decided however to settle in the South of France in order to research and understand how the Roman Empire met its demise, yes there is a Roman connection here as well. Since he arrived he has written both his first book 'The History of Limoux' and now this second, even more comprehensive, book 'The Lauragais Story'.

The latter, albeit a history book, has been released on Amazon and with various other distributors as an eBook which you can read on a Kindle, iPad or any other eReader you happen to own. If you want to see distributors other than Amazon have a look here French History Books or if you want to buy it on Amazon then have a look here Jewels of French History Books - The Lauragais Story or you can buy the alternative version now available in French - Histoire Du Lauragais


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Castres in Tarn and the Midi-Pyrenees

Its funny that you can live so close to a town but for whatever reason hardly ever visit it. Or when you do it is because you need to do something or are just there shopping.

That's how Castres has been for us until just recently, when the arrival of family visitors prompted us to have a proper look at the town. It was actually quite a pleasant surprise. The day was sunny and warm and the River Agout looked like a mill pond.

As you explore you discover all sorts of things, for example that Castres has the second most important Spanish art museum in the country, second only to the Louvre. That the town started to get established around the 9th Century and that it has been a stopover for the pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostella for hundreds of years. The pilgrimage starts at Arles which is the furthest south of the pilgrimage routes.

Actually I discovered there was so much to share with you that I decided to make it a stand alone article on a publishing platform I use. I called it a Region of the Midi Pyrenees and you can have a look at all the other things I discovered about Castres following the link. You will find a few more photos as well, including the Goya art museum based in the Episcopal Palace designed by Louis XIV's principle architect. Another little project he worked on was the Palace of Versailles. Not so shabby really, so go take a look.

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