Le Tour 2021

Can Mark Cavendish win?

Tomorrow, 10th July, the 14th stage of the cycle race, Tour de France, sets off from the city of Carcassonne, exploring the foothills of the Pyrenees and circling back to the town of Quillan, making which would be at a more leisurely pace, an excellent way to experience the sights (and sites) of the Aude department, named for the Aude river which flows through Quillan and Carcassonne on its way from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean Sea.

I’ll be watching on TV tomorrow, not just to see how Mark Cavendish gets on, but also as many places along the route are very familiar to me. I’ve climbed up to the citadel of Montségur, the last bastion of the Cathar faithful against the Catholic crusaders and pondered at the stone marking the spot where the last Cathars leapt willingly into a bonfire rather than recant and submit to Catholic sacrament. Montréal was host to debates between Cathars and Catholics (led by Saint Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order and the first Inquisitor) and its church still dominates the surrounding countryside with a hint of menace. I’ve brought family and friends visiting to walk the ramparts of the Cité de Carcassonne and sat chatting in cafés in Belvèze, Chalabre and Quillan.

It will be broadcast live on France2 if anyone is interested. Not sure if you’ll need to access via a VPN or whether other channels may be more accessible from other countries.

3 thoughts on “Le Tour 2021

  1. I visited the walls of Carcassone with my wife and mother in the early 80’s. Very impressive.

    The other day I visited nearby Furness Abbey on a whim. A lovely site, you’d never know you were close to the somewhat rough town of Barrow. I overheard some people talking very knowledgably about Cistercian and Savigny architecture, led by a German girl with embarrassingly impeccable English. I followed them about, at a discreet distance, earwigging. Though I don’t have a religious bone in my body, I recognise the power and influence of the notions on human history. And, religious places are often quite cool.

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