Troubador Lauragais

Released: 28/10/2018

ISBN: 9781789015836

eISBN: 9781789012446

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood


A journey through the past and present of a little-known area of south-west France. 
Explores the people, places and events that shaped a land once too important to ignore. 
A whole library has been written about the Lauragais in French, but virtually nothing in English.

The Lauragais lies in south-west France at the heart of Occitania. Today it 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.  

This is a book with big characters – Simon de Montfort, the Black Prince, Thomas Jefferson and the Duke of Wellington among others – but most of all it tells the story of the people who have shaped this land, the living and the dead, families that have lived in the same house or village for hundreds of years. This is the story of their lives, their religion, their forgotten language and their environment.  

On the autoroute, a journey through the Lauragais will take you three-quarters of an hour, but all you will see are tantalising glimpses of gorgeous countryside and distant signs of human habitation. In this book, the author takes you on a more leisurely trip through time in a land that is endearingly modest about its illustrious past.

Trip Fiction

P-O Life

Languedoc Living

Living Languedoc

Languedoc Living



France Magazine

Fusac Book Corner

The Connexion

Mules & More

French Property News

Couleurs Lauragais

La Voix du Midi

Journal D'ici

La Depeche

Lauragais procure beaucoup de précision du récit historique et de la description des lieux et des personnages s’accompagnent d’une vue d’ensemble et d’une réflexion vraiment profondes.

by Bernard Jean

All too often descriptions of little known parts of France are dry, skimped works that tell you more about the writer than the place itself. Not this one.
I know this region well, but this book reveals much that will enhance my appreciation of the people who live here and the culture they treasure as only the French can!
If you live here, or plan to visit the Lauragais, this is for you. If you are one of millions who speed through at maximum revs . . . take the first turning off the motorway once you leave Toulouse and treat yourself to the real France.

by Jonathan Veale

Very good book. Loved the characters and world building! There were a few moments where I found the story to be moving a long a little slow, but they definitely didn't last very long. Definitely a to-buy!

by Alicia Mann

The subject was very interesting. This book tells the story of a region of France whose history is really the history of Europe. The author, whose work was new to me, writes in an extremely engaging way. I really enjoyed this and was very glad I took a chance on it. Highly recommend to history readers or anyone interested in Europe.

by Thomas Lambe

A well written and researched book that encourages you to follow the author on his adventures (both real and sometimes imagined) through the centuries of modern day "Lauragais". He adopts a very lucid style, helpful for the non native English speaker.
Once you get through the initial chapters of historical facts, it settles into a leisurely journey full of fascinating insights that captures your imagination and interest right to the very end.
It would be helpful to know something of the French language, which sadly I don't.
A must for anyone connected to the area.

by Keith John Taylor

An unusual first book from this author. Unusual in that he skillfully draws together a fascinating mix of history and travel in a very readable and well researched narrative to take the reader with him on a journey exploring the past and present through a little known area of SW France. From the endless bloody religious wars fought over this land, to the more romantic story of the Troubadours, of the ubiquitous Pastel dye and the Canal du Midi ; to the deeds of the French Resistance during the German occupation in the second world war. All this makes for compelling reading. Certainly worth a place on anyone's bookshelf.
A new author of whom we shall surely hear more .

by Aan Keith

‘Lauragais’ - steeped in history, soaked in blood - well indeed it is, who knew there was so much history to learn about the sleepy, beautiful countryside in the South West of France.
This beautifully written book is appealing to all in the easy manner it unfolds, beginning with the plight of the Cathars in 1211 to the great fire of Toulouse in 1463 and the beginning of the noteworthy ‘Pastel’, to the twentieth century wars.
Mr Taylor uses clear, friendly and informative language to persuade the reader to be a part of the major events that unfurl in his historical research into the localities of the Lauragais. His passionate involvement in the area give a real and personal insight into how it all unfolds and thereby making the book ‘a darn good read’.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to all who have the slightest interest in South West France, because once you start reading the book, you will not be able to put it down.

by Suzie Garner

Fascinating story of part of France that has escaped the attentions of historians but not of invaders, businessmen, crooks, soldiers and wily farmers. Colin Taylor tells his story of discovery as a guest of countless French hosts who opened their doors to show him the deepest corners of their cellars and the darkest secrets of their past. It is a tribute to Colin's nature, which shines through in his writing, that a foreigner evinced such openness and reveals not just the official history but the very personal stories of those who witnessed it, and those who dug it up again many years later.

by Tony Milne

A very well written and enjoyable book that I could not put down. Colin writes in a way that really engages the reader. I particularly liked the way he wrote about his travels to the historic sites in the present to tell the history of that area. Having visited some of this part of France I cannot wait to return.

by B. Owens

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Eight centuries of history described in a single book. I had no idea so much has happened in this area across the ages. 20 years of exploration and research have been recorded by the author resulting in a fascinating account of this area of France. Well done Mr Taylor.

by John Owens. Uxbridge, England.

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.

by James Owens

I have just finishes your book (Kindle version) and have had to buy a hardback too( so that i can keep referring back to it ). We have a house in Castelnaudary and loved the region from the start. Your book has given me so much more to look forward to on our visits and filled in a whole load of gaps in history that i had.
Sometimes history book like this are quite dry and difficult to read. This however was lovely and i couldnt wait for my next commute journey so that i could get on with the nest installment. Thank you

by Lesley Davies

Merci mille fois for having written such an accessible and wry book about the history of the Lauragais. SUCH an approachable tome. I have tried many a time to find a book which would explain Catharism etc without being too dry and your approach is impeccable. I initially bought it for my daughter-in-law who asked "Well what was the importance of this region, because it is obvious that it was important at one time?" But she will get a second copy as I want to keep this! We have had a little house in Molleville, near Mas Stes Puelles for 17 years, and like you, adore this relatively neglected corner of France. I shall certainly investigate more some of the places you mention. What a great read. I loved it! Thank you.

by Estella Archibald

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - a deep dive into the sometimes turbulent history of this part of France. The book is a wonderful blend of the author's story of discovery and the story of the region's history.

by Ralph Padgett

As someone who has been visiting this area for more than 30 years I have found this book incredibly interesting!
It reveals facts previously unknown to me about places I know very well and it extraordinarily well written!
Thank you

by Phil Bailey

I have just finished reading « Lauragais » and was as sorry to put it down as you were to finish researching it! It is beautifully written and cleverly structured. A real pleasure to read. I particularly appreciated shuttling between the big historical events and the smaller histories of our region, as well as your personal encounters. As a Lauragais resident of forty years, I have been using the book as a template for family excursions to visit familiar places with so much more understanding of their history and connections to each other.

by Jeremy Mell

I saw your post on the Facebook page ‘Occitanie everything & anything' and bought your book immediately. I started it yesterday and have just finished it - I couldn’t put it down. Thank you for introducing me to the Lauragais. We live in the north of Tarn and although I’ve read a lot of books about the Occitan area, I think yours has been one of the best. I thoroughly enjoyed it. especially the chapter about the pastel. Once again thank you for a thoroughly good read.

by Catherine Foster

I just finished reading your book Lauragais. I just have to say what a wonderful experience it was reading about someone else wandering the world with a sense of wonder, daydreaming about the past. Thanks for sharing your adventures and passion!

by Michael Rizzo

Colin Duncan Taylor

Colin has been living in the south of France for 20 years, and through his books he shares his passion for the region's culture, gastronomy, history and language.

In Lauragais: Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood, he explores a thousand years of a history that has been shaped by characters including Simon de Montfort, the Black Prince, Thomas Jefferson and the Duke of Wellington. On a more peaceful note, the book also investigates the construction and operation of the Canal du Midi, and the rise and fall of pastel, or woad, an industry which brought fame and fortune to Toulouse in the 15th and 16th centuries.

His latest book, Menu from the Midi, draws on two decades of intensive personal gastronomic research during which he has discovered first-hand the history and legends, the festivals and fairs, and the cultural background surrounding the Midi's most iconic culinary specialities, including the oldest sparkling wine in the world, le Rolls-Royce of olives, pink garlic soup, meats of the black Gascon pig, the legendary cassoulet, and cheese from the caves of Roquefort..

Visit his website and blog to find out more about the Lauragais and the Midi.

An Englishman who is passionate about the Lauragais

Bastille Day at the memorial to the Resistance of the Montagne Noir
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