Full itinerary for our sacred and historical France tour with historian Henry Lincoln and cultural expert Allysha Lavino. 10 days of travel - history, mystery, Rennes-le-Chateau, Knights Templar, Mary Magdalene, Cathars, sacred geometry, the real DaVinci Code, French culture, food, and wine.
Ancient Mysteries ~ A Quest
SEPTEMBER 7 - 16, 2018
Are you called to the Adventure of a lifetime?
DAY 1: Our Adventure begins in Toulouse, where our coach whisks us off to the fairytale castle of Carcassonne. Across Time’s drawbridge, we sink into the past in this fortified medieval city. Old meets new — with time to explore candy shops galore set upon ancient cobbled streets. After a traditional French dinner, we enjoy the quiet beauty of a stroll round the ramparts.
DAY 2: Exploring the feudal fortress of Carcassonne, this medieval Cité is a gateway, but only the beginning. We take the winding way to the 8th century Abbey of Saint Hilaire, nestled in the heart of small-town Occitania. Settling into the slower pace of country life and filled with a spirit of exploration, we head on to our home away from home ~ Rennes-les-Bains ~ and the five-course, home-cooked meal that awaits us.
DAY 3: Le marché, a staple of French life, is an unmatched sensory spectacle, and we delight in this delicious tradition as we troll the stalls in search of unique local goodies, souvenirs, and gifts. We spend the afternoon getting to know our home base, Rennes-les-Bains, with its healing hot springs and Roman foundations, preparing ourselves to dive into the mysteries of the region.
DAY 4 : Henry Lincoln has uncovered an ancient secret buried deep in the landscape of the Languedoc.
Do you have eyes to see?
After a mind-blowing presentation by the mystery master himself, we pop up the hill to Rennes-le-Château for a strange Adventure. Here, we visit the coded church and see for ourselves the secrets that have been hidden throughout the centuries. Bring your questions, cameras, and an open mind ready for inquiry. Marie’s Garden is more than just a delightful café.
DAY 5: It was never DaVinci’s code, but another painter leads us to evidence … proof of the cover-up. Now ~ with awareness of the magic occurring all around us, we travel to a little-known, natural grotto on a very specific spot. After a picnic by the river, we finish the afternoon at a nearby vineyard, touring the cellars and tasting the famous sparkling wine of this region.
DAY 6: Legend says the castle of Puivert welcomed a travelling Occitan minstrels throughout the middle ages. After exploring these ancient halls, we head off on a secret Adventure buried deep in the Occitan countryside. Laden with a hearty picnic, equipped with our hiking shoes and spirit of exploration, we explore the forests of fée, where the very way beneath our feet is full of surprises.
DAY 7: A free morning to explore and enjoy the wonders of our home away from home. The choice is yours ~ sit by the river, enjoy the local hot springs, or take a hike through the surrounding countryside. After a picnic lunch, we wind our way up a white china clay mountain to a tiny hamlet, marked by the ancient Celts in the age of pre-history. We finish our day at the churchyard and ruined cathedral of Alet-les-Bains followed by dinner among friends at L’Evêché, a wonderful restaurant in the old Bishop’s Palace of Alet.
DAY 8: A beautiful drive leads us to the idyllic castle of Puylaurens, one of the eagle’s nest Cathar Castles found throughout the Languedoc. After a hike up with time to explore, we enjoy a lovely picnic at the foot of the crest. Then it's on to the Gorges de Galamus and a hermitage nestled on sheer cliffs. Here in the backwoods of Occitania, we may discover that not all is lost, for those who remember live on in this land.
DAY 9: At the the Fountain of Fontestorbes, we discover a true wonder of nature - a cave and waterfall with strange behaviours. After coffee or tea near the Fountain, we are off to Montségur, legendary home of the last Cathars. We enjoy the mysteries, history, and landscape before heading back for a gastronomical paradise of traditional French delights!
DAY 10: Packing up to head home, we find ourselves subtly enlivened by these days in the Languedoc. We wave goodbye to our new friends and the stunning landscape of Old Occitania as our coach carries us back to present day and the airport in Marseille. Heading home once again, we travel onward with the memories of our time together and the wondrous vitality this magical land has shared with us.