MAY 30 - JUNE 3, 2004



Depart Barcelona, Grand Ducat Hotel at 8:30 AM.

Travel to Queribus, France via Perpignan. Leaving Perpignan we enter the Pay du Cathare, the Land of the Cathars. The Cathars were a religious sect that believed in a dualistic universe, a world of matter which was the product of the God of Evil and the spiritual worlds which was the realm of the God of Good. The Cathars or Albigensians flourished in Languedoc in the late 12th and early 13th century. Ultimately the papacy called a crusade against the Cathars, which commenced in 1208. The Albigensian Crusade not only destroyed the Cathars but the unique civilization of Languedoc as well.

Visit the castle at Queribus
Queribus is perched on a narrow rocky peak, 2200 feel high. It is one of the castles known as the five sons of Carcassonne which defended the border between Aragon/Catalonia and Languedoc. It was constructed around 1020 and was a major bastion of Cathar opposition during the crusade.





Travel Queribus to Peyrepertuse
Visit the castle at Peyrepertuse. The site of Peyrepertuse has been occupied since Roman times in the 1st century BC. The first mention the castle is in 1070, some 50 years after Queribus. Peyrepertuse played a major role in the Albigensian Crusade and came under the control of the King of France in 1258.







Travel Peyrepertuse to Carcassonne






The site on which the present city of Carcassonne rests has been occupied for 2500 years. Originally settled by Gauls in the 6th century BC it has been occupied by Romans, Visigoths and Moors. The current walls and towers underwent massive reconstruction in the second half of the 19th century under the architect Eugene Viollet le-Duc. Most of the reconstruction was in the upper walls and towers. The Cathedral of Saint Celese is a combination of Romanesque and Gothic with beautiful stained glass windows from the 13th and 14th century.

Overnight at the Donjon Best Western Hotel in Carcassonne.
Le Donjon Les Remparts
2 Rue Du Comte Roger, Cite Medeevale, Carcassonne, France, FR-11000
Phone: 33 4 68112300 Fax: 33 4 68250660

The Donjon is within the medieval walls of Carcassonne. It is well situated for walking tours of the city and there are many excellent restaurants and shops within a few blocks of the hotel.


Breakfast included. Depart Carcassonne 9:30AM for Albi. Spend afternoon in Albi. While in Albi we will visit the unique Saint Cecile Basilica, construction was commenced in 1281 and not completed until 1448. The heights of the walls are 120ft and the bell towers are over 230ft in height. It is one of the most extraordinary churches of medieval Christendom. We will also visit the Berbie Palace and gardens, and the church and cloister of Saint Salvi, the city’s oldest monument. We will also walk through the Viel Albi (old town) with its beautiful late medieval structures. Also not to be missed is the Pont Vieux, the Old Bridge across the Tarn dating back to 1040, one of the oldest in France.

Another site not to miss (if open) is the Toulouse Lautrec Museum housed in the Berbie Palace. The museum has the world’s largest collection (over 600) of Toulouse-Lautrec's (1864-1901) works.
Depart Albi 3:00 PM to return to Carcassonne.

Overnight in Cascassonne at the Donjon Best Western.

Breakfast included. Depart Carcassonne 8:30AM for Cloister of St. Hilaire.
We will make the short trip to Saint Hilaire to see the quaint 8th-14th Century Abbey. The Abbey contains the remains of Saint Hilaire, the first Bishop of Carcassonne (6th century). For wine lovers, it should be noted the world’s oldest sparkling wine, Blanquette de Limoux, was invented by the monks at Saint Hilaire abbey in 1531.

Depart St. Hilaire for Montsegur via Qullian. It is a beautiful drive through the mountains to Montsegur. We will pass the castle of Puivert, an important center for the troubadours of Languedoc. From a great distance one can see Montsegur perched nearly 4000 ft above on a limestone peak. In 1232 it became the center of the Cathar Church and 200 perfecti came to live there. Eventually 500 people made up the community in this small fortress (many lived in caves about Montsegur).

Montsegur was put under siege by the crusaders in 1243 and after 10 months surrendered on March 2, 1244. The captured Cathars were given 15 days to repent their heresy or face death. On March 16, more than 200 Cathars (mostly perfecti) were burned at the foot of the castle. A marker commemorates the Prat dels Cramats, Field of the Burned.

Following lunch in the village of Montsegur we will depart for Andorra and overnight in LaVella at the Crown Plaza Hotel where the late afternoon and evening will be free for exploring and shopping.

Crowne Plaza Hotel
Prat de la Creu 88
Toll-Free: 900973767
Tel: 376-874444
Fax: 376-874445


The Principality of Andorra is a sovereign nation of 65,000 people and 179 sq miles. An autonomous feudal state since 1278, it obtained full independence in 1993. The official language is Catalan, and Andorra has been a shopper’s tax-free paradise for years.






Breakfast included. Morning free for shopping and sightseeing.
Depart LaVella 12:30 PM for Parador de Cardona in Cardona, Spain. We will travel to Cardona passing through old Aragon following the beautiful Segre River valley.

Arrive Parador in mid-afternoon. The Parador is located in the 13th-Century Castle of the Dukes of Cardona, constables to the Crown of Aragon.
Afternoon free to enjoy Parador and explore Cardona.

Group dinner in evening at Parador.
















Depart Cardona 9:00 AM for Montserrat (the Serrated Mountain with it highest peak 4,055 ft.). The history of the monastery dates back to the 9th century. The church houses the Virgin of Montserrat said to have been brought to the Peninsula by St. Peter. Click HERE for a virtual tour of Monserrat.

Depart Montserrat for Barcelona, ca. 2:30 PM.
Two drop-offs in Barcelona.
1. Hotel Grand Ducat or a similar central location.
2. Hotel at the Airport (to be determined) for those departing in the morning and wish to stay at the airport.

Cost per person (based on double occupancy): $490.
This includes luxury coach, hotel room (4 nights), breakfast, dinner at the Parador de Cardona, entrance fees to sites visited.
This does not include meals (other than those noted above), tips for guides and driver, entrance fees to sites not included in the itnerary, spending money, hotel incidentals.

You may sign up for the tour on the Congress Registration form (online or mail-in), or you may use a separate form (online or mail-in).

To register for the tour
CLICK HERE for the online form.

CLICK HERE for a form you can print out.

Responsibility: Mediterranean Studies Association and other participating organizations act solely as agents in arranging transportation, hotel accommodations, and other services. We do not assume, and in fact, we expressly disclaim, any liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay due to any act, negligence or default of the tour guide or any company or person engaged in transporting the passengers or rendering any service, or carrying out the arrangements for any tour, or their agents, servants and employees.
Guarantee & Rate: Once we have received your full payment, your rate is secure. However, in the event of increases in operating costs, tariffs, or taxes prior to your departure date we reserve the right to add a surcharge. You would be notified prior to travel.
Insurance: Trip cancellation insurance for medical reasons is highly recommended.
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations are effective on date received in writing. Full refund (minus a $75 administration fee) will be made for cancellations up to 91 days prior to departure. After that period, additional cancellation fees will be assessed as follows:
– 90-61 days prior to departure – Loss of deposit
– 60-45 days prior to departure - 35% of total tour price
– 44-31 days prior to departure - 50% of total tour price
– 30-0 days prior to departure - 100% of total tour price
Please note: Any unused tour portions are non-refundable. Claims for a refund must be sent in writing within 30 days of completion of tour.

Questions: e-mail: or telephone: 508-999-8022.