The Medieval period, (1000-1300AD) is probably the most interesting in Languedoc’s history - one alive with gory dramas, religious fervour and constantly shifting power-bases. The Cathars were Gnostic Christians. They claimed that their beliefs and practices dated from the earliest Christian times and predated the innovations of the Catholic Church. They had survived in Persia and gradually travelled westwards through the Byzantine Empire, the Balkans and Italy to Western Europe.
Today you can visit many Cathar Castles. A few, such as Carcassonne have been restored. Many others are spectacular, romantic and unbearably poignant. One of the most famous Cathar Castles is located at Montségur. This was the Cathars' last real stronghold, which fell after 10 months of siege in 1244.