Lauragais: Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood
by Colin Duncan Taylor
Situated in the heart of Occitanie, the Lauragais 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. Simon de Montfort, the Black Prince, Thomas Jefferson and the Duke of Wellington all left their mark, and in a more literal sense so too did Pierre-Paul Riquet with his Canal du Midi, and the rich pastel merchants with their magnificent hôtels particuliers.
Author Colin Duncan Taylor has lived in the area for twenty years, and among his friends are people whose roots in the Lauragais are much deeper than his own. Some of them come from families that have lived in the same home or village for hundreds of years, and with their help, he brings the past back to life in a book that tells the story of a land where, if you scratch below the surface, the soil is steeped in history and soaked in blood.
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‘A brilliant book that captures the history of an area of France that I’m sure most of us would never have considered being so significant in shaping modern day life. The book is thoroughly detailed yet never overwhelmingly technical and is written in a unique and refreshing style that makes it hard to put down. Anyone with an interest in history, France or simply a good, well-written book must read Lauragais.’
James Owens, 1 September 2019
‘Having just (July 2019) travelled through Lauragais and visited a number of key historical sites, I was delighted to find a book that tied these separate experiences together over time and space. Colin’s book brought the area to life in a comfortable way, providing both personal colour and depth of detail around specific events as well as creating the link with the current inhabitants. As an experienced traveller with intense interest in history, I found Colin’s book a marvellous addition to my holiday.’
Jeffrey Brown, 2 August 2019
‘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.’
‘History in this part of the world is not locked away inside a glass cabinet in the bowels of a dead museum. It is alive through the people and their homes, and my hostess Marie-Christine is the seventeenth generation of the same family to reside in the Château de Garrevaques. Her grandchildren are running around somewhere too.