Castles

Dotted liberally across the landscape of Languedoc-Roussillon are many majestic castles, erected by the Templar Knights nearly a thousand years ago, built as fortifications to protect the Cathars from the invasion from the North. There are also chateaux, where the nobility of Languedoc once lived in comfort and spleandour.

Below are photos and descriptions of some of the castles in the Languedoc, many of which you are welcome to visit to walk around the ancient ramparts. Click on each link to see more details, and the location.

You may also be interested in visiting the Cathar Castles website, which has lots of information on the location, history and architecture of Cathar castles. There's also Cathar information in English with information on the Cathars of the Languedoc - their origins, history, beliefs, texts and martyrdom.

Please click for holiday accommodation in the Languedoc.

Peyrepertuse

The Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse dates from the 11th Century. It stands at 800m high and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.

There is an excellent swimming spot nearby in Duilhac, and you can also visit Gorges De Galamus on the way to the Castle. 

Castle at Carcassonne Old City

The largest castle in Languedoc is in Carcassonne, which you can walk through and around, really getting a feel for what it must have been like in ancient times. Please see the Carcassonne page for more photos of that castle. In the summer they also have jousting tournaments at the castle with knights and their horses authentically decked out. Below are photos of other castles in the Languedoc, many of which you are welcome to visit to walk around the ancient ramparts.

Puivert Castle

Puivert castle is one of the better preserved castles in the Languedoc Roussillon region and the current structure mostly dates from the 15th Century, after the Cathars. 

While in Puivert you can also visit the renowned museum in the village, Musee du Quercorb and swim in the local lake with artifical beach.

It is approximately 30 minutes drive from the holiday gite and it can also be viewed from above from a superb view point above Nebias (see walks).

Puilaurens Castle

Puilaurens castle is one of the most impressive in the Cathar region and is a short drive away from Axat and the river Aude.

It continued to be a refuge for the Cathars even after the massacre at Montsegur up until 1250. In 1255 the French king ordered that Puilaurens castle be fortified as a frontier citadel, and it became the strongest bastion facing Spain in France and the Pyrenees.

It is approximately 30 minutes drive from the self catering apartments in Couiza.

Coustaussa Chateau

Coustaussa village dates back to the 14th Century and is situated in the high valley of the Aude, on the river Sals between Arques and Couiza. You can walk to the castle from the self catering gite in Couiza along a quiet track, and it is free to wonder around the ruins.

Ch√Ęteau de Serres

Serres is a small, pretty village with a 15th Century Chateau. There is also a bridge constructed during the reign of Louis XIV.

Chateau in Arques

Arques Chateau is on the West side of the Arques village and parking is free. There’s a book shop as well. Entrance to the actual chateau/castle was around 5 Euro’s when we last checked, but you can wonder around the outskirts for free.

The castle was first mentioned in 1011, but the current construction was completed in 1316.

Further details, including history and opening times, are available on this site about Cathare castles in France.

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