“Per Tolosa totjourn mai…” A fellow lover of Toulouse and reader writes:

25 Jan

New Year’s Eve, 2008.  I had a dinner party at my house, and two Spanish friends of mine brought a couple from Madrid along.  The husband, Rodrigo I think was his name, later told my friends that I was “super-majete.”  I explain this term in the footnote to Toulouse: “Who ever lov’d who lov’d not at first sight?” and it’s part of the text of “Un Verano en Nueva York” .  I remember thinking at that point: “I can die happy now.  My life has meant something.  A real Madrileno has called me ‘super-majete.'”  It’s a compliment not granted lightly.

But now a Frenchman is kind enough to recognize that I’ve understood something important about France in my Toulouse post.  So I may have to die happy and satisfied one more time.

From Phildange:

Wow, I didn’t think I could read such understanding words about any spirit of France from any Anglophone ! And you’re American ! But you’re a real traveler man, it can be easily noticed . The thing is me too had a love at first sight when I discovered Toulouse in 84 . And by this time there were dozens of bars with live gigs every night, even on mondays ! Better than NYC … If you have time, don’t miss 2 very old churches : la Daurade and l’église du Taur . La Daurade played a big role in the resistance against the Northern Barbarians sent by the Pope, and Notre-Dame du Taur is an old alchemistic sanctuary . The Cathars had discret connections with the Knights Templars, Toulouse was full of alchemists and the Kabbalah was elaborated in the South of France at this time, when the first writers started telling about the Graal . If you speak about romanesque love ( l’Amour courtois ) You should mention Clémence Isaure and her Jeux Floraux, a tournament of troubadours . There are many things to say another time, but I’m highly pleased by your article . Cheers and thank you .
( Don’t forget the girls, the most charming flowers of France …)

Thank you.  And please do share any other thoughts and ideas.  I’ll look up all the other things you mentioned.

Have you seen two previous recent posts of mine about France?:

* What I managed to put away in a day-and-a-half in Paris, and some thoughts on the “crise.”


* Krugman backs me up on France


Clémence Isaure and her Jeux Floraux, a tournament of troubadours (click)

(“According to legend Clémence Isaure was the foundress and president of Academie des Jeux Floraux (the Academy of Floral Games), a poetry and literature society dating from 1322.  It is a perfectly real group and is the oldest recorded literary society in the world.  This period of time was the nadir of the troubadours, or traveling musicians and poets who roamed around southern France and northern Spain, and who were responsible for a flourishing of culture in that area.  The idea of having a literary society came out of their traditions, and this first one was founded in Toulouse, the center of the troubadour area.  We know that seven troubadours/poets came together to found the society in 1322, and it was funded by the new bourgeoisie of Toulouse.  However, in legend this lady, Dame Clemence Isaure, was an heiress of a wealthy family, and she never married.  She left them all her wealth to start this literary society.  She is seen as the ultimate patroness of the arts, and her reputation was as a beautiful, virtuous, and chaste woman who dedicated her life to culture.” — From: “To study in Paris is to be born in Paris.”)

Note: Phildange does make a point about southern France that I couldn’t find a way to fit into my original Toulouse post: that its cities were flourishing centers of Jewish life and scholarship and, yes, mysticism, Kabbalah — all of which was of course destroyed, the communities scattered, mostly to the Rhineland, then only a century or two later to Poland, to which they brought their esoteric learning along with the mediaeval High German that eventually became Yiddish.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

One Response to ““Per Tolosa totjourn mai…” A fellow lover of Toulouse and reader writes:”

  1. phildange January 25, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    I wanted to say : don’t judge the Cathars from the first books you find about them . It takes some researches to have a clearer knowledge . They had their own version of the Bible, they collected very ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, and not the corrupted Latin Vulgate, and translated them straight . There are 3 of them left . They were poors, they walked and healed the poors, they had equality between men and women, (their most famous figure was a lady, Esclarmonde de Foix) . All things hated by the rich Clergy traitors . Politically too, Occitania officially tolerated every religion, Muslim Sufis, Jewish Kabbalists, they had a Parliament in Toulouse ( the Capitouls ), sexes equality, all of that in the XIIth century, when Paris, London and Germany were still on the edge of rough barbarity . For me, the slaughtering of this country by the Northern Barbarians was one of the few major catastrophes that twisted the destiny of Europe, therefore of the world . This, and the making of the future American mind by Puritan money makers, by England .
    If you’re in this sort of things, I can tell you another little thing about Toulouse . When the veeery antique “Schools of Mysteries” of the source of all initiatic traditions in the modern times, Egypt, decided it was time to found an extension in the future Europe to come, under Charlemagne’s reign around 800 AD, they did it in Toulouse, . A group of Frankish knights went to Egypt and came back to found the first Lodge of Europe . I always thought the brilliant achievements of the country owed a lot to this act .
    By your name you sound Greek . If the Roman Empire is like the Godfather of Britannia ( therefore of America); old Greece is the Godmother of France .
    A wondeful trip of a few days to do is the Cathar fortresses . On top of mountains, in the summer heat you feel like in the solar temples of the Andes . I started by that before entering Toulouse, and I loved Toulouse before the first sight indeed .

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