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03 June 2015

The Cévennes mountains in Languedoc is one of the most remote parts of France – rugged and beautiful, yet little visited. The area has also been the backdrop to some of the most significant events of French – and European – history. On this late summer tour with historian Dr Lionel Laborie, we shall immerse ourselves in this breathtaking landscape whilst exploring France’s rich religious past.

Huguenots of the Cévennes

The Cévennes mountains in Languedoc is one of the most remote parts of France – rugged and beautiful, yet little visited. The area has also been the backdrop to some of the most significant events of French – and European – history. On this late summer tour with historian Dr Lionel Laborie, we shall immerse ourselves in this breathtaking landscape whilst exploring France’s rich religious past.

We asked Lionel (pictured below) what made this tour so special.

This is a fascinating subject to explore in a beautiful region. Can you tell us some more about the itinerary?
The first half of the tour will be in based in Orange, a Dutch Protestant enclave within Catholic France in the seventeenth century, where we will make a broad overview of the lives of French Protestants – the Huguenots – in the early modern period. From there, we will explore sites of historical interest such as the dungeon of Crest (a former prison for Huguenots) and Nîmes, the economic capital of the region and a Protestant stronghold. The second part of the tour will take place in the Cévennes, where the last French war of religion took place between 1702 and 1710.

What makes the Cévennes mountains so special?
The rugged landscape of the Cévennes has played a fundamental role in the history of the region, making it a hotspot of resistance and rebellion. For centuries its people maintained a distinctive identity as religious dissenters who did not speak French, but only their own dialect. Languedoc saw the crusades against the Cathars in the Middle Ages, and the first French Quakers and Methodists also emerged here in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although isolated, the Cévennes maintained ties with Protestant countries through a network of exiled relatives. Its culture of clandestine worship also influenced the evangelical revival in 18th century Europe and America.

In many ways, this was where freedom of religion was earned in France. As a specialist in the Camisard rebellion and its religious legacy abroad, I am looking forward to introducing travellers to remote battlefields, castles, and sites of clandestine worship in the Cévennes mountains as we explore this unique, yet little known part of France and its amazing history.

For full details about the tour please contact the office on 01223 841055.

 
 
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