Often throughout history, Castres and Mazamet have been shaped by Religion. Catharism, quarrels between Catholics and Protestants or the Edit de Nantes have left their mark on the current composition of our societies. Nowadays, many religious buildings mark out the region, without forgetting that Castres is located on the paths of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle. Sacred territory…

Hautpoul et son château

Hautpoul and Catharism

In the Middle Ages, Hautpoul, by its privileged position of height and difficult access, was a high Cathar place. It was the territory of bloody wars against the Cathars, considered as heretics by the Catholic Pope.

Ruines de l'Eglise St Sauveur, vestiges des guerres de religion
Musée du Catharisme à Mazamet

Condemned and persecuted, the Cathars, despite everything, tried to live their religion fully. In the Cathar Museum of Mazamet, you will discover their history.

Mazamet Eglise Notre Dame

Mazamet and the wars of religion

The wars between Catholics and Protestants, and also religions and their practices, strongly shaped Mazamet. Indeed, many places of worship (Churches and Temples) are witnesses: witnesses of a way of thinking, witnesses of the importance of religion in the region, witnesses of the organisation around them, etc.

Religion is also sometimes invited in the way of designing a habitat. Indeed, Protestantism and its austere style where one should not show one’s wealth influenced many characterful residences during the rise of the Mazamet’s industrial rise to power.

Castres, stop on the Way of St. James

Castres is located on the Arles route, one of the official routes to Santiago de Compostela. In the Middle Ages, monks brought back relics of Saint Vincent de Saragossa for which a basilica was built: since then, Castres has been a popular stopover on the way to Saint-Jacques. Saint-Jacques Church, fountains in the shape of seashells, sculpted shells, as well as the large statue of the Pilgrim of Autan walking against the wind are all references.

Towards a time of appeasement and peace

During the Cathar period, Castres did not really commit and submitted to Simon de Montfort. The city will have a bishopric from 1317 to 1790. A Huguenot Bastion during the wars of religion, it became a stronghold and many buildings were destroyed.

The Edict of Nantes will put an end to these wars, the Protestant cult being legally accepted. In 1595, Henri IV created in Castres a Chamber of the Edict made up of Catholics and Protestants, with the aim of rendering fair justice. It’s the start of a great period.