• Can Rigall:

    Thank You!

    Can Rigall will not be opening for 2014 and the property is for sale. We'd like to extend a very big thank you to all our guests and friends that have shared the beauty and nature of our mountainside with us. If you have any enquiries please send an email to the address below.

The Cathars

Perched high on rock outcroppings—seemingly defying the laws of nature—are the famous Cathar castles situated just north of Can Rigall on the border of the Pyrenees-Orientales and Audes departments of the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
Catalan counts began constructing such fortresses in the 11th century to protect their northern boundary. Quéribus (the namesake for Can Rigall's Quéribus Room) is one of the oldest of these border-claiming castles. It sits 730 meters up seemingly growing right out of the rock itself. Besides representing the changing edges between Spanish kingdoms and France, Quéribus is perhaps most famous as the last Cathar castle to fall.

The story of the Cathars is a tragic one, forever clouded in mystery. No written documentation of these medieval heretics remains save testimonies recorded by their persecutors. What’s known for sure is that in fleeing persecution the Cathars sought refuge in these inaccessible frontier fortresses built to withstand the siege of nations. For this reason Quéribus and Peyrepetuse (the namesake for Can Rigall's Peyrepetuse Room) are important historic landmarks in what is now known as Le Pays Cathare.

So who exactly were the Cathars? From the 11th to 13th centuries an elusive religion took shape and grew to a nice sized following in the Languedoc region of France where it was peaceably tolerated. Rooted in Christianity, the Cathars followed the teachings and mysticism of St. John. Cathar spiritual leaders emulated Christ and his Disciples taking strict oaths of asceticism. They were opposed to all forms of killing, were vegetarians, believed in reincarnation and universal redemption. Some historians make claim that the religion has far Eastern influences while others argue it was a pure form of the earliest Christian faith before power and corruption came into play.

Regardless of its origins, to the Roman Catholic church Catharism was heretical. Together with a French king intent on gaining a firm grip on southern France and a pope enforcing its rule as the only acceptable form of Christianity, a genocidal war was waged on Cathar believers. Known as the Albigensian Crusades (for the town of Albi where Cathar leaders organized), the years 1209 to the 1240′s saw masses of believers tortured and burned at the stake until the Cathars were virtually wiped from history. The last Cathar was burned in 1321.

French Catalonia

Aside from the lush and diverse natural history of our region, what perhaps makes it most intriguing is its cultural richness. On the border of France and Spain, the southern Roussillon half of Languedoc-Roussillon has been influenced by a long history of shifting borders. Once entangled with Catalan Counts, Kings of Aragon and Kings of Majorca, the treaty of 1659 settled it once and for all making Roussillon officially the southernmost region of France.
But the cultural traditions and identity of the people here seem to speak louder than official borders. Here the region is know as Northern Catalonia, or French Catalonia, and the Catalans who live here are proud of their heritage shared with Southern Catalonia in Spain.

La Sardane is the dance of Catalonia, danced hand in hand in large circles accompanied to traditional Catalan folk musique. In spring and summer sardane dancers can be seen in many villages for various festivals. The largest sardane festival takes place every year in Banyuls-sur-Mer the second week in August. There you'll see both men and women sporting the famous Catalan espadrille shoes.

Espadrilles are the typical shoe of Catalonia made from brightly colored canvas fabric. This striped fabric can be spotted all over the region in many forms, from furniture upholstery and home décor to hand bags and belts. Across the way from Can Rigall in the mountain village of St. Laurent-de-Cerdans, the Les Toiles du Soleil fabric factory still makes this traditional fabric. Many of Can Rigall's furnishings have been created from this local fabric maker. Traditional espadrilles are also made in St. Laurent just next door from the fabric shop.

Calatan is the language of Catalonia, spoken by over 7.5 million people. Like French, Spanish, and Italian, Catalan is a romance language. It's the 23rd most popular language used on the internet and is spoken by one quarter of the population in the Pyrenees-Orientales department of France.

Catalan history of the region can be found in Perpignan at the Catalan History Museum, Casa Pairal, located in the Castillet tower. Or you can get into current Catalan politics with Open Cat, a Catalan online news journal and think tank published in four languages.

A Talking History Walk

Des Balades Sonores en Terre Catalan is a talking history of Catalan life as told by the fishermen, miners and people who lived in the villages of the foothills of the Pyrenees.
You can download these recorded interviews and stories accompanied by music and then follow the historical walks through four different villages of the Pyrenees-Orientales department. The stopping points are marked by a gray MP3 sign throughout the villages. You can learn about the mining heritage of Can Rigall's home village of Arles-sur-Tech, or hear stories from the villagers of Prats-de-Mollo, Collioure , Argeles or Marcevol.

Get the downloads and more information here

Historical Outline

Basecamp Explorer Pyrenees
Can Rigall
66150 Arles-sur-Tech
no Siret: 504 805 615 00011
For any enquiries email pyrenees@basecampexplorer.com