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Bourg Saint Bernard, the "Pré de la Fadaise festival" in three words

 


The history of Bourg Saint-Bernard is doubly attached to Catharism. By the name of the village and by the mythical festival that takes place there at Pentecost.


In the past, therefore, as we say in immemorial times, Bourg Saint Bernard was called Ville Longue and for good reason, it extended over a small width, as far as Francarville, about three kilometres away. It drew its importance from the presence of the seat of a bishopric. Later, it became Bourg-La-La-Loi.

 

In the 12th century, as the heresy of the Albigensians had made fairly rapid progress in the province of Languedoc, the Pope sent Bishop Albéric to preach the crusade against the heretics. The latter was joined by the famous abbot of Clairvaux, Saint Bernard.

 

Upon their arrival in the region, the two missionaries stayed in Toulouse for some time and then continued their preaching in the vicinity of the city.

 

Badly received by the inhabitants of a small town and forced to leave it without a single conversion, they had to flee, and it was then that they headed through the Girou Valley to less hostile peoples, Saint Bernard and his companion received hospitality in the village, where the inhabitants showed themselves to be charitable towards them and easily allowed themselves to be brought back to their first beliefs. The Bourg-la-Loi then changed its name to Bourg Saint Bernard, and this saint became the patron saint of the town.

 

As a reward for their generosity and the warm welcome given to Saint Bernard, the inhabitants of the village enjoyed great fertility for a long time, while their cursed neighbours, plagued by extreme drought, were forced to come and draw their water from a distance of nine kilometres.

 

What about the Pré de la Fadaise festival? The origin of this festival dates back to 1211 during the Albigensian Crusade, when Simon de Montfort's armies besieged Lavaur. Legend has it that the young people of the village delivered the only son of a rich widow, captured during the fighting. The latter, grateful, would have offered the youth of the village an equestrian festival in a meadow belonging to her. To keep this memory alive, she wanted the feast to be celebrated in perpetuity on Whit Monday.