L’époque médiévale

Just outside the city of Narbonne, on the Mediterranean, is the beautiful beach village of Gruissan.  Besides being my favorite swimming beach in the area, it also plays host to numerous events such as this Medieval re-enactment .

For the fifth year there is on offer a weekend commemoration of  the Days of Heritage. Participants in the ceremony and most of the vendors that I observed were dressed in period costume. All kitted out with bows, arrows, crossbows, swords, shields and more were the twelve troops of riders, knights and of course their ladies fair and other members of their communities. The Trencavel family faced off the armies of the Knights of Templar. The Cathar or Albigensian Crusades lasted from the 11th to the 13 century. The Cathars having their own beliefs and not conforming to the dogma of Rome were tortured, slaughtered and believed to be annihilated.

The Days of Heritage is a vibrant pageant of troubadours, dancers, jugglers, fire-eaters, twelve troops of riders, knights in full regalia. Across the estuary, spectators crowded in to watch the story unfold. It was clear as the re-enactment of   XIII century events that the loyalties of the spectators were with the Cathars and not with the Inquisitors. There were no cheers for the victors and the silence of spectators during the battle was erie.

Visitors quietly dispersed and moved into the center of the town where there was exhibition of Medieval life and vendors selling items related to the re-enactment and more. There was a woman making chain maille (a type of metal fabric used in several historical periods) and soldiers gave tips on sword-fighting.

Making Chain Maille



Deux demoiselles
Toy sized bows, arrows and shields for sale
Sword fighting tips
Simon de Montfort
Chain maille examples

15 thoughts on “L’époque médiévale

    1. It was. The entire day was very subdued. Despite the centuries that have passed and the supposed extinction of Cathars, it was an erie day. This is the heart of Cathar Region.

  1. How amazing, I can still feel my heart go cold as I read your story about the en-actment and the silence. I have masses of books on the Cathars and feel deeply connected to them. What deep roots their stories have in that region, and in so many hearts. A moving and wonderful story to share, thank you

    1. Thank you. I share those feelings and am honoured to be in the heart of the Cathar route. In my living room is a Cathar cross made for me by my neighbour Armand. He is 91 years young and you can see him at his forge in some of the earlier posts.

  2. Such festivals are organised during summer by some old castles. They’re presenting medieval handcrafts and products. Often they have a smith with them. Some of those festivals also organize (show) fights with fire, swords, axes and lances. Some of those festivals take places every year.
    Some castles and old cities, too, take some aspects of such medieval markets and integrate them into the Christmas Market.

    1. It was interesting and strange actually. Everything was subdued. This re-enactment of a small battle during the inquisition was more “history” than entertainment. That is unless you are rooting for the inquisitor which is not likely around here.

    1. Yes Cindy, it is Lea. Have you been to France? My cooking is adequate, I believe. However, when in the mood, I can bake rather well. Have you noticed that retirement is not about sitting around watching the clock move? It seems I am always so busy and baking is relegated to when I am not writing, exploring, painting, at the beach…

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