The Lauragais lies in south-west France at the heart of Occitania. Today it is largely ignored by the millions who visit its neighbours each year – Toulouse and Carcassonne – but in times gone by it rarely escaped the attentions of the great and the good, or the ambitious and the avaricious.
This is a book with big characters – Simon de Montfort, the Black Prince, Thomas Jefferson and the Duke of Wellington among others – but most of all it tells the story of the people who have shaped this land, the living and the dead, families that have lived in the same house or village for hundreds of years. This is the story of their lives, their religion, their forgotten language and their environment.
On the autoroute, a journey through the Lauragais will take you three-quarters of an hour, but all you will see are tantalising glimpses of gorgeous countryside and distant signs of human habitation. In this book, the author takes you on a more leisurely trip through time in a land that is endearingly modest about its illustrious past.
‘If you want to discover the future all you have to do is wait, but if you want to rediscover the past you need perseverance, dedication, imagination, instinct, an obsession with detail and preferably a large dose of luck. I know plenty of people like that in the Lauragais.’