Le Mas Soubeyran
Opening times :
Everyday from March 1st to Nov. 30th.
9:30am - 12:00pm
and 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Everyday in July and August
from 9:30am - 6:30pm
tel +33 (0)4 66 85 02 72
Louis XIV, sovereign king, wanting political and religious unity, withdrew freedom of worship for Protestants in revoking, in 1685, the Edict of Nantes that Henri IV signed in 1598 which brought peace to France after the Religious Wars.
Abjurations from those who belonged to the RPR, the so-called reformed religion, were obtained by any means necessary.
To incite these abjurations, the law slowly began to withdraw social, professional, and religious rights from the Protestants. The Edict of Nantes was stripped of its content. Any reason was a good reason to demolish temples and cause frustration.
Repressive measures included taking children from the objectors, the ‘dragonnades’ forced Huguenots to lodge the King’s troops called ‘booted missionaries’, who obtained mass abjurations through violence and destruction.
In October 1685, the Edict of Fontainebleau revokes the Edict of Nantes, forbidding Protestant worship services. It precisely lists the measures to take to prevent any return to Protestantism : the temples are destroyed, pastors sent into exile, borders are closed due to demographic and economic departure that the repression caused, children are obligated to be taught the King’s religion…
Many Huguenots, kept the faith, and having not exiled into the refugee countries (Switzerland, Germany, Holland, England…), gathered in the ‘Desert’, hidden from those who could renounce them, in isolated places, to celebrate a forbidden worship service, organized an underground church, for over a century risking death, prison, and the galley-ships.
The Cevennes would become the theatre for the Camisards war. An armed revolt to attempt to win back religious freedom opposed 3,000 Protestants, the Camisards, to 30,000 soldiers, from 1702 to 1704, without succeeding to affect the intolerance and persecutions.
They would have to wait until the French Revolution (1789) to have freedom of conscience and freedom of worship proclaimed. This is the history the Desert Museum calls to mind. A century of clandestine life and resistance for their faith. A century of intolerance and persecutions that didn’t extinguish this faith.
The museum wants to bear witness to this heroic past that defended freedom, but also to bring awareness about the heritage acquired through these struggles : a spiritual and cultural heritage that is revealed in the cevenol culture and mentality.