Town and Country of Languedoc May 5-13, 2018

Birthplace of the troubadours, home of the legendary Cathars, Languedoc was the intellectual, social, and economic center of France from the 9th to the 13th centuries. Named after langue d'oc, a lyrical blend of several languages, the region is one of the best-kept secrets in France. From the rugged Pyrenees to the shores of the Mediterranean, Languedoc has a distinctive character along with a colorful and varied history.

We'll begin our visit in Albi, a beautifully preserved medieval city that was the seat of the pope's Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars in the 13th century. Our home for three nights will be the historic Hotel Mercure Albi Bastides overlooking the River Tarn with terrace views of the old city. Among our daily excursions in this UNESCO World Heritage city will be a tour of the acclaimed Musée Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, located in the 13th-century Palais de la Berbie. Throughout this itinerary, we'll find ourselves stepping back in time as we tour Languedoc, nowhere more evocative of bygone eras than the exquisitely preserved Cordes-sur-Ciel and Minerve, two of the most picturesque villages in France. Our final four nights will be spent near historic Carcassonne in the charming Château de Floure. In Carcassonne, we'll visit the Romanesque- Gothic Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus and the archaeological museum in the restored Château Comtal, a former Cathar castle. Our visit wouldn't be complete without a cruise on a flat-bottomed boat down the Canal du Midi, another UNESCO site built in the 17th century to connect the Mediterranean with the Atlantic.

In the good company of experienced French guides, we'll discover the mysteries and legends of this captivating region, sample its fine cuisine and wines, and much more. Please join us for a unique adventure in one of France's most romantic and historic regions.