The village of Saint Felix de Lauragais
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Situated between Toulouse and Carcassone, Saint Felix de Lauragais is a small village - population 1354 - that offers from its highest point at 339m altitude an exceptional panorama of Languedoc and Midi-Pyrenees regions from "Montagne Noir" all the way to the Pyrenean mountains, panorama that includes no less then 7 departments.
Like many old villages of France Saint Felix de Lauragais is a place where layers of history are heaped one on top of the other.
The village was inhabited since Neolithic times and was through the ages a Roman camp, a Visigothic fortress, a bastide.
It is here that the first Cathare Council took place in 1167. The council, attended by Nicetas, the Bogomil pope, established a Cathar administrative organisation in the Languedoc region and agreed on matters of doctrine.
The castle where the council took place was partially destroyed by the armies of Simon de Montfort during the Cathar Crusade and then enlarged and renovated in the XIV, XVII and XVIII centuries. The building is still standing and can be seen today (from outside only since it is a private property and cannot be visited inside).
As was the case with many towns purged of heresy, after the cathar crusade Saint Felix acquired its cathedral built between 1303 and 1317 on the order of Pope John XXII. It is a building in “gothic meridional” style and with a 42 meters high bell tower. In 1355 the town was devastated by the Black Prince during the Hundread Years Wars.
In 1482 the Parliament of Toulouse, fleeing the city because of the plague, took refuge in Saint Felix.
The war of religions marked… the adoption of Saint Valentin as a second saint patron of the village – beside Saint Felix.
It was on the 14th of February 1570 that the Huguenot army led by the Prince Conde was defeated by the village with the help of the royal army.
In April 1814 the armies of Duke of Wellington camped on the hills adjacent to the village, preparing for what the history calls the “Battle of Toulouse” one of the last battles of the Napoleonic wars.
Related article: An Easter Party in Lauragais