Tour the South West of France with your friends from the Join Us in France Travel Podcast. And if you’d rather do it solo, we tell you about the places you must be sure to visit because we’re nice and we like you!
If you like this episode, also listen to Episode 43 on Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Episode 62 on Cahors, and Episode 78, a Trip Report that includes some of the same places.
Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
Places mentioned in this episode: Toulouse, Aeroscopia, Airbus, Bonrepos-Riquet, Carcassonne, Mirepoix, Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Château de Saurs, Cahors, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Puycelsi, Penne, Bruniquel, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.
Tour the South West of France, Episode 147
[53”] Thank you Patreon Supporters! New installment of Lunch-Break French.
[1’56] Resources to Get Started in French: Duolingo App, Coffee Break French, Lawless French.
[2’46] Extended Show Notes will be out within a few days
[5’15] Related Episodes: Episode 43 on Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Episode 62 on Cahors in the Lot
[6’] Annie’s Personal Update: How Easter works in France
[10’44] The Tour will also take us to the Pierre-Paul Riquet Château (Bonrepos-Riquet)
[11’08] Carcassonne and Mirepoix
[11’39] The tour will take us to Albi
[12’40] Wine Tasting at the Château de Saurs
[13’] Informal French Class
[14’31] Cahors and Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
[14’55] Why We Can Only Have 7 People
[16’40] Introduction to Puycelsi, Penne and Bruniquel
[22’51] La Forêt de Grésigne
[26’13] The War Against the Cathars, Raymond VI and Baudouin de Toulouse
[29’38] Glass-making in this area
[30’56] Small Place Yet Full of History
[32’27] Next Stop: the Village of Bruniquel
[35’34] Bruniquel and Queen Brunehilde
[43’40] Stop in Penne if Time Permits
[44’53’] Last stop of the day in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
[50’] The Hundred Foot Journey Was Shot in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
[52’15] A Day Tour of the Medieval Riches of Gorgeous Villages Near Toulouse
[52’43] All the details of the tour the south west of france with Annie and Elyse are on Addicted to France
Thinking about going beyond Paris and seeing the rest of France? A great place to start is the South West, aka Occitanie. France is a big country and those who look outside of major attractions are rewarded with sweet, genuine experiences of France. Whether you join this tour or decide to travel solo, Puycelsi, Bruniquel, and Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val are places you need to put on your list.
On today’s show Elyse shares with us the wonderful and unusual story of the city of Mirepoix in the Arriège department. This medieval city is full of charm but it is not as well-known as some of the others cities nearby such as Carcassonne or Foix. On the show you’ll hear about Cathars, about a dramatic flood that entirely destroyed the city in the Middle Ages, how Mirepoix rose back from the disaster from the help of a family of magnanimous conquerors, and how it is one of the places that should not be missed in the south-west.
Places Mentioned on the Show
French/Dutch Island of Saint Martin or Saint Marteen in the Caribbean. Mirepoix, Arriège.
French Tip of the Week
“J’ai une mémoire de poisson rouge” = I have a bad memory (starts at 53:42)
1206 Convention of Cathars in Mirepoix to find a way to defend themselves against anticipated Catholic assault on the Cathars. They were correct to think about it because the war that took the Cathars off the map started 3 years later. This war is also the one that took Carcassonne and Foix later. Simon de Montfort was at the head of this army and his first Lieutenant was Guy de Lévis and they took Mirepoix without much resistance because it was not a fortified city.
Guy de Lévis Rebuilds
Guy de Lévis is gifted lordship over Mirepoix and it turns out that he is a benevolent ruler who helps develop the city. On June 22nd, 1289 a damn up-river (L’Hers-Vif) breaks and the village of Mirepoix is left. The only thing that remains is a bit of the castle that you can still see today. The village is rebuilt on the other side of the river and instead of putting the church at the center of the city (perhaps they were still a little sore about the war against the Cathars?), they put the market at the center of city life. The Lévis family has had a very positive influence over the area.
The Black Prince Destroys Mirepoix
Mirepoix is the victim of the Black Prince from England and this latest disaster convinces the inhabitants to build stone walls around the city. These came much later than most fortifications, with four gates and trenches all around. You can still see two of those gates in Mirepoix today.
Seeing Mirepoix Today
Elyse gives recommendations on what you should see in Mirepoix today and discusses the hotels and events in the city. And of course we encourage you to take a proper tour with Elyse, you’ll love it! We end on a small rant on how a small town such as Mirepoix still has two great bookstores while Annie couldn’t find more than one book store left in Philadelphia!
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