Cathar Country in the South of France – Sandy Miranda

Cathar Country in the South of France

Here we visit Chateau de Puilaurens, where Cathars took refuge after 1244. It was quite a climb, but I felt completely energized as one sometimes does on mountains full of quartz crystal. (i.e., Boynton Canyon in Sedona, Mauve’s cairn in Ireland). ‘The Ancient Winds
An interesting article in Wkipedia tells us about the winds that sweep Cathar country:
“The mistral played an important part in the life and culture of Provence from the beginning. Excavations at the prehistoric site called Terra Amata, at the foot of Mount Boron in Nice, showed that in about 400,000 B.C. the inhabitants had built a low wall of rocks and beach stones to the northwest of their fireplace to protect their fire from the power of the mistral.
The mistral (CatalanMestralGreekΜαΐστρος) is a strong, cold, northwesterly wind that blows from southern France into the Gulf of Lion in the northern Mediterranean, with sustained winds often exceeding 66 km/h (41 mph), sometimes reaching 185 km/h (115 mph). It is most common in the winter and spring, and strongest in the transition between the two seasons. Periods of the wind exceeding 30 km/h (19 mph) for more than sixty-five hours have been reported.
In France, it refers to a violent, cold, north or northwest wind that accelerates when it passes through the valleys of the Rhone and the Durance Rivers to the coast of the Mediterranean around the Camargueregion. It affects the northeast of the plain of Languedoc and Provence to the east of Toulon, where it is felt as a strong west wind. It has a major influence all along the Mediterranean coast of France, and often causes sudden storms in the Mediterranean between Corsica and the Balearic Islands.
The name mistral comes from the Languedoc dialect of the Occitan and means “masterly”. The same wind is called mistrau in the Provençal variant of Occitan, mestral in Catalanmaestrale in Italian and Corsicanmaistràle or bentu maestru in Sardinian, and majjistral in Maltese.
The mistral is usually accompanied by clear, fresh weather, and it plays an important role in creating the climate of Provence. It can reach speeds of more than 90 km/h (56 mph), particularly in the Rhone Valley. Its average speed during the day can reach about 50 km/h (31 mph), calming noticeably at night. The mistral usually blows in winter or spring, though it occurs in all seasons. It sometimes lasts only one or two days, frequently lasts several days, and sometimes lasts more than a week.
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