The village of Avignonet-Lauragais
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Avignonet-Lauragais is a small village -population a little over 1000 –-situated in the department of Haute Garonne not far from the "Autoroute des Deux Mers" that links Toulouse to Carcassonne to Narbonne. It is also a village situated on the banks of the Canal du Midi.
The site of the village was inhabited since 8000 BC.
However probably the most important event ir>n its history took place in 1242, during the last years of the Crusade against the Cathars.
In May 1242 the Inquisition sets up a tribunal in Avignonet. The village is at the time the turf of Raymond d’Alfaro one of the officers of Raymond VII Count of Toulouse, a known cathar supporter.
During the night of May 12, 1242 a small group of cathars protectors led by Pierre-Roger de Mirepoix descends from Montsegur, enters the village and accompanied by Raymond d’Alfaro finds its way to the house where the inquisitors were sleeping and kills them all.(They could not have been cathars because the Catharism forbade the murder!)
Avignonet is a nice village that can be visited in a couple of hours.
Its main attractions beside the charming little streets are its entrance conic tower called "Tour Poivrière" and the Notre Dame des Miracles Church.
The tower was built in 1610 for the enforcement of the principal gate of the village. In 1850 the statue of a crusader is erected on one of the remaining parts of the old fortification wall. It served also as prison for a highway robber called Michel de Paulo.
The "Notre Dame des Miracles" Church was built starting from 1385 on the site of an older church that was destroyed in 1355 by the armies of the Black Prince. Its name comes from the polychrome statue of the Virgin Mary found under the door of the old church. The church is gothic style building made of sandstone and limestone and was consecrated on February 22, 1512.