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The Curti House

Belpech, a village to discover 
From yesteryears to nowadays, what a history…

William Curti, the White Cardinal : born in Belpech, close to Pope Benedict XII (Jacques Fournier, from Saverdun), he reached the highest positions in the papal court, where he served under three popes.

Born in the late XIIIth century, he studied in the Bernardins’ college in Paris.  He returned to the Boulbonne abbey where he became abbot in 1316.  In 1319, he was made doctor of theology by John XXII. ​

Around 1335, Benedict XII put him in charge of reforming the Cistercian order and appointed him bishop of Nîmes, then Albi. He was made cardinal in 1338 and moved to Avignon with the pope. Clement VI and Innocent VI also trusted him : in 1342, he was sent to Lombardy to appease some troubles, then became camerlingo of the Sacred College of Cardinals and appointed bishop of Tusculum (Frascati, Italy). ​

Upon his death, in 1361, his body was returned to the Boulbonne Abbey where he was entombed in a chapel specially erected for this purpose.  The abbey was ransacked in 1567 and the tombs desecrated.  In 1753, bones supposed to belong to the counts of Foix, the cardinal of Curti and several other abbots were collected into a chest, which was placed before the master altar at the new Boulbonne, in Trèmesaigues. ​

He is still remembered in the papal palace in Avignon. The turret in which he lived is still nicknamed “White Cardinal” after the Cistercian dress the prelate wore until his death.

Guillaume Curti
Guillaume Curti

Thanks to L. and T. Guillosson

for translation

Belpech - Coat of arms of the Curti family
Coat of arms of the Curti family

The house with 3 shells ​

Notice this house built of dressed stones, dating from the XIVth century.  The original building consisted of two parts, with three windows. ​

The right part was left to ruin and was pulled down in 1904 while the window was transferred to the parochial church’s sacristy.  The other two windows were restored.  Clearly Belpech’s oldest stone house, it belongs to the municipality since 1965.

An escutcheon bearing three scallops, the Curti family’s coat of arms, is set above the main door.  According to tradition, this house served as a hostel for pilgrims on the Way of St James.


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