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cathar castles in pyrenees

Visit the famous Cathar castles in France .

A small development before leaving your cozy mobile home , which you may be confirmed to the home of your camping and at home in the Pyrenees, located just at the entrance of the camping mill Alies Bridge .
First warning to the unwary traveler who must take care not to speak of the ” Cathar castles ” but ” Cathar castles in the country,” he does not want to incur the wrath of the guardians of the memory of this legendary country .
Why ?

A little history : The Cathars
Very few Cathar castles in the sense of actually having sheltered “perfect “, a word often used to describe the followers of the Cathar religion. The very term Cathar castles is a misnomer since they are the basis of fortified towns ( of castrums ) Laurac , Fanjeaux , Mas Sainte- Puelles , Lastours – Cabaret, Terms, Puilaurens and finally the most famous of all : Montsegur which today is referred to as a mecca for the end of the Cathar history , the last refuge of resistance , ” the guys and good women” as the Cathars called themselves believers who were burned alive at the stake by the royal troops . Legend has it that the last Cathar have buried a treasure Monségur , which attracted many adventurers in the region including the famous Nazi Himmler .
As you can see so little Cathar castles on the score that account the list of Cathar castles .
But what chance Castle Puilaurens , one of the few still standing and having a real Cathar origin remote is less than 10 kilometers ( 15 minutes) from the camping ” Le Moulin Alies the bridge.”

5 sons of Carcassonne

The Cathars were therefore destroyed leaving the way open to the royal power to install fortresses on old castrum . Thus were reconstructed royal citadels number 5 called ” 5 son of Carcassonne ”

The castle of Aguilar
Castle Peyrepertuse
Castle Puilaurens
Castle Queribus
Castle Termes
These fortresses ensured border security against the Aragonese who regularly besieging the strongholds , without success. These castles watchtower, arranged defensive line at the foot of the Pyrenees, were already used as a strategic point of view by defenders cathares.Puis Louis XIV, the Sun King good , signed a peace treaty with neighboring Spain which made back the frontier on the ridge of the Pyrenees, a natural barrier between the two countries , unchanged since border between France and Spain . Thus losing their usefulness to defend the kingdom against invaders , fortresses vacuum fell into oblivion and became shelter shepherd.

Castles near the campsite

In this prestigious list, we can see that camping Mill Bridge Alies is close to these prestigious sites in their history, powerful and breathtaking architecture. Indeed, no less than three castles can be visited in an afternoon from the campsite .
Castle Puilaurens, 8 kms 15mn
Castle Queribus 35kms in 35 minutes
Castle Peyrepertuse 43 km in 50 minutes

If you look on the map of castles in Cathar country , you will see that campsite le Moulin du Pont d’Alies is ideally located for a recognition of these towering citadels and the Abbey of Saint Hilaire .

Pays cathare patrimoine et châteaux catharesLégende carte pays cathare

The location of the campsite, allow to visit in one afternoon: Castle Puilaurens Peyrepertuse CastleCastle Queribus – Castle of UssonCastle of ArquesPuivert Castle and Museum QuercorbThe castle of Montsegur
And return to the campsite at the end of  afternoon.

For the more remote sites, you can simply order a picnic to Mr. Laurent, the campsite manager of le moulin du Pont d’Aliès, for excursions to visit a little more distant castles.
The era of tourism awakened the sleeping citadels for our greatest pleasure, and now you can visit twenty Cathar castles.
We propose to explore the most prestigious.



Puilaurens cathar castle


The walls of the castle of Puilaurens
This is the closest camping castle , a quarter of an hour. You have greatly make a visit to an afternoon and even wander in the area or return to the campsite to enjoy the pool for your late afternoon.

On the road of Cathar castles , castle Puilaurens is not to be missed . One of the few still standing remains of the bloody history of the Cathars that were destroyed during the crusade against the Albigensians that launched and Louis IX and Philip III .

History of Castle Puilaurens

On Mount Arduous is 958 appears for the first time the name Puilaurens in a document signed by Lothaire that grants the Provost Puilaurens the church of St. Lawrence on a hill . The first lord will Pierre Catala in 1217 and his son Roger in 1242 .
The role of the castle in the Albigensian crusade against the Cathars will protect and fully assured its mission as Simon de Montfort was never able to break down the fortress. This fortress ideally located at the gates of the Kingdom of Spain drew their lust . This is a strategic position that the kings of France seized . From 1250 , the castle pass into the hands of the monarchy .
Once the castle acquired royal power , considerable developments transformed this town into a veritable fortress impregnable city. Today we still see many architectural elements , evidence of warfare in the Middle Ages .


Pays cathare château Puilaurens

This citadel was a fortified town jealously guarded as the border with the Kingdom of Spain remained in custody . Then, because of the Treaty from 1250. From 1258 , under the repeated blows of Spanish incursions , the castle officially became one of the five fortresses defending the French territory , known as the “five son of Carcassonne .” This is a line of defense that faces the border , built on rock pythons deemed impregnable. Castle Puilaurens remain for nearly 300 years , the southernmost castle French territory.

Then in 1659, Louis XIV signed the Treaty of the Pyrenees which fixed the border on the crest of the mountain of the same name and which is away from the border.
A small garrison will be maintained until the Revolution. Poorly maintained, then abandoned, it will begin to decline until the tourist boom of the mid- twentieth century that will give it a second life. Today it is owned by the municipality.


Château pays cathare

Nestled on one of the mountains identifying village Lapradelle – Puilaurens majestic castle appears to bend in the road . Its clear stones marry rock python that welcomes and contrast with the black of the dark forest that surrounds it. It appears in full force once you have arrived at the site entrance . Past the kitchen with a store entrance, you climb a small path straight , long and difficult despite regular slope. I suggest before you go camping to provide a bottle of water for the climb!

The top of the pedestal 697 meters , the fortress of Puilaurens closed one of the passages of Fenolheda . Its keep dating from the XIth with changes in the thirteenth century , is surrounded by a crenellated wall that protects four rounds . Limiting access is particularly effective , because beyond the fact that the path is rocky and steep , the main entrance choked by a series of nine baffles own stop the enemy arises. Then, once past a small space, graft twelve deadly oblique baffles , still protects the castle gate . Imagine you have finally reached the door coveted hundreds of arrows pierce your body!




Château Puilaurens dans l'aude

the courtyard of the castle of Puilaurens

Inside the courtyard, you can still admire the way round qu’empruntait garrison on crenellated curtain . One can still see the remains of the room occupied by men in garrison faction. Then fitted to the visitors walkway leads us to the main castle building , divided into several areas in which the tank and shops and houses, square tower called ” Tower of the white lady .” Wooden buildings were to occupy since the court can still see the holes that were used to flush beams in the walls .
The panorama extends over the valley Boulzane .
Then it’s back and you give this impressive mass of stone that has a taste of eternity to regain a foothold in reality with the shop that offers all cultural products you need to deepen your visit. This will give you the reading for long evenings after returning to camp .


Going down Puilaurens Lapradelle is joined in the valley of the Boulzane River, which crosses the Fenolheda from east to west . Taking the departmental D9 to Ansignan . On the way to the right you will find the chapel ND de Laval and surrounding ruins witness to a rich activity in the valley in the past. Arrived at Ansignan you can admire a Roman aqueduct giving access to both sides that can still be traveled. Village Ansignan it was the valley of the l’Agly to Saint Paul -de- Fenouillet border city of medieval times until the Treaty of the Pyrenees stepped the boundary of Spanish territory to the ridgeline . Lulled by the river, the church has its steeple 7 faces dating back to the seventeenth century. This village is on the road to Galamus gorges , your next excursion after a deserved return to the campsite .
Take the D117 towards Maury offers beautiful caves .


Puilaurens cathar castle aude

Diving view of the castle

 Aude  valley Puilaurens

View of the Castle Valley Puilaurens

View of the Castle Valley Puilaurens

View of the Castle Valley Puilaurens

Castle Puilaurens
11140 Lapradelle-Puilaurens

Tel / fax: 04 68 20 65 26

Mail: chateau.puilaurens @ orange.fr

Opening hours
February, March (weekends and holidays) 10:00 am- 5:00 pm
April and 1 October to 15 November 10h-17h

May 10h-18h
June and September 10h-19h
July and August 9h-20h
Closed in January and from 16 November to 31 December
CAUTION: Latest visitors 30 minutes before closing





Individual Rates

Puilaurens cathar castel

Bottom view of the path of the Castle Puilaurens

Adult Tickets: € 4

Child (6-15 years): 2 €

Adult fare Passport: 3 €

Group rates 2013

from 10 people

Free tour: 3 € / person Duration: 1 hour
Picnic Area / Toilets/ Dogs allowed

Payment Methods Accepted

Cash / bank and postal checks / Credit Card / Holiday vouchers







cathar castle Peyrpertuse

The Cathar castles and brings a wealth of up strong. Camping Moulin du Pont Alies is at the crossroads leading to the main attractions, including Castle Corbieres, one of the most imposing fortresses, located less than an hour from the campsite.

In the Corbières, in the municipality of Duilac-sous-Corbieres is accessed by a beautiful road overlooking the scrubland dotted with vineyards lace. The castle is built on a rocky outcrop shaped ship would run aground on a sea of ​​rubble, her womb promised to the four winds. We guess his imposing figure from the valley without doubt the importance of the site and only once at the foot of the high cliff of 40 meters, the castle got its imposing mass of our eyes.


castlePeyrepertuse pyrenees

The strategic position of the peak that dominates all passes and valleys to the sea encouraged his occupation since Roman times. Recent excavations have uncovered fragments of amphora and coins that show regular activity on the site.

It is in 806 that the castle is mentioned as such, under the name Perapertusès possession Catalan Count Besalù. It then passed into the hands of the county of Barcelona and the Viscount of Narbonne. When Alfonso II, King of Aragon breaks his allegiance to the king of France, the country became a border area with the Kingdom of Aragon.

We are in 1180.

pays cathar Peyrpertuse

He became the fief of William of Corbieres . At the outbreak of the crusade against the Albigensians in 1209 , an army led by the abbot of citeaux , Arnaud Amaury , the papal legate , ravaging the Albigensian country , leading to the pyres whoever resists him with shouts of ” Kill them all , God will recognize his own . ” Languedoc burns . William refuses to submit and was excommunicated but eventually rally to Simon de Montfort who heads the Albigensian Crusade . But due to bad actions of Montfort , Guillaume took refuge in the castle of Puilaurens and continues the battle against the French Crusaders. The castle became the refuge of many supporters Tenclavel . In 1240 , after a last gasp of the insurgents , the military, supporting the Cathars surrendered. Louis IX seized the castle and makes a formidable bastion including adding a new dungeon ( dungeon San Jordi ) built further up the ridge. Peyrepertus like its neighbors Puilaurens Queribus Aguilar Terms and became royal fortresses , “the five son of Carcassonne ” sentinels of the line of the Pyrenees . This until the Treaty of the same name in 1659 , which fell to the border ridge of the Pyrenees, is causing the futility of keeping men . A small garrison will be maintained until the revolution. It was sold as national property in 1820 and began a restoration from 1950. 100,000 visitors per year are now greeted Corbieres .


The tour can be done with an audio guide that compliments your adventure stories of those who have made ​​the history of the area.The entrance to the site is via a path climbing up the castle from the east, walls running 2.5 kms around the two castles.

Peyrepertuse which means “pierced stone” is the most successful architectural ensemble of medieval times.
crusade cathar castle Peyrepertuse Aude

The lower castle is feudal building prior to the changes made by Saint Louis. Despite its appearance in ruins, most of the walls are still standing. The front door has a barbican to stop the attackers then enters the lower chamber bounded by the walls still very well preserved 120 m long where a curtain dominated by niche based on crows and marked by two towers semi runs -circular. On the esplanade, housing with sink, postern and latrines. It enters the inner court of the house of the governor of the old dungeon decorated with opposite St. Mary’s Church Peyrepertuse beautifully preserved Romanesque style. Leaving there, you can begin the ascent to the second castle in the middle chamber through the entire building. To your left, a watchtower.


After a climb on a path dotted with shrubs , you reach the bottom of the vertiginous staircase Saint Louis , remarkable size , made of large stone blocks whose rise gives you a bird’s eye view of the steep wall . High staircase you enter inside the second castle built on the rock San Jordi. The structure is composed of a guard room , and three units in a row with even the location of stone bench where you can sit and admire the view. On leaving , we see the old stone quarry which allowed the construction of the castle there. Finally , buildings that conform to the shape of the rocky outcrop with his the highest part , the San Jordi chapel offers a great view on the surrounding valleys , the Pyrenees and the Spanish border. You can see the castle Queribus the Far dei Tautavel Força Real and turn.

Visit Corbieres is a wonderful hike for the whole family , igniting the imagination of your children.The summer, the site offers activities such as birds of prey , the medieval festival or legends of the Middle Ages and his knights .




ON THE WAY BACKDhuilac Peyrepertuse Aude cathar

For your descent into the valley, you can stop in the village nestled at the foot of the fortress. It retains its medieval center, the “strong” vestige of the old walls when the village was still fortified. Down the village fountain Dhuilac will offer its fresh and pure as it was recently engraved worms Ronsard water: “Whoever drinks it becomes a lover. “Do not miss the Church of St. Michael, who was restored to that which benefits the” ribbons heritage “awards for communities to rehabilitate their heritage. Finally, the gorges of Verdouble, distant one kilometer east of the village, end your day with a refreshing walk. Then it’s back to the campsite, inflated history, breathtaking landscapes and broken after this invigorating and muscular excursion.

Peyrepertuse cathar castle

For your descent into the valley, you can stop in the village nestled at the foot of the fortress. It retains its medieval center, the “strong” vestige of the old walls when the village was still fortified. Down the village fountain Dhuilac will offer its fresh and pure as it was recently engraved worms Ronsard water: “Whoever drinks it becomes a lover. “Do not miss the Church of St. Michael, who was restored to that which benefits the” ribbons heritage “awards for communities to rehabilitate their heritage. Finally, the gorges of Verdouble, distant one kilometer east of the village, end your day with a refreshing walk. Then it’s back to the campsite, inflated history, breathtaking landscapes and broken after this invigorating and muscular excursion.



Opening hours

1st week of January, November and December: 10h-16h30

February: 10h-17h
March and October: 10h-18h
April: 9h30-19h
May, June and September: 9h-19h
July and August: 9h-20h
Closed the last 3 weeks of January
CAUTION Latest visitors 20 minutes before closing
individual rates
Adult Tickets: € 8.50 in July and August, € 6 the rest of the year
Child (6-15 years): 3 €
Passport adult fare: 7,50 € in July and August, € 5 the rest of the year
Audio guide: 4 €








Distant 35 kilometers from the campsite bridge Alies his visit can easily be programmed on an afternoon . Very close to the fortress of Corbieres , both tours can be done on a day with a short break at the village of Cucugnan or that of Dhuilac – Corbieres .

The fortified town ( castrum ) Quéribus, which means “rock of boxwood ” is acquired County Besalù which Viscount Fenolheda and Quéribus depends then passed into the hands of the Count of Barcelona to the XXII century where it will be under the thumb of Viscount Narbonne .
Chabert Barbaira is a spirited knight who is shown alongside Nuno Sancho of Roussillon Jacques I of Aragon at the Battle of Majorca. As a reward the king granted him the castle of Puilaurens will be lost against the Crusader forces during the crusade against the Albigensians .
Queribus under orders Chabert Barbeira , take another twelve years after the fall of Montsegur and Carcassonne and give refuge to many religious figures like Cathar Bishop Benedict Terms . Finally, in 1255 , Chabert Barbeira in exchange for his freedom accepts the surrender of Queribus who, like his neighbors and Puilaurens Peyrepertuse becomes ” son of Carcassonne ” device of royal power against the Kingdom of Spain .
Between the twelfth and fourteenth century , it was rebuilt and strengthened to ensure its protective role of the kingdom of France , but in 1473 , the Aragonese pierce the defense of Quéribus and seized the castle .

After the Treaty of the Pyrenees, it will become like all the royal fortresses, a sentinel spur unimportant to be left to the revolution. The renewed interest of communities to their heritage brings ranking Quéribus historic monument in 1907. This is the beginning of its rebirth . Started in 1951 are the first renovation by the consolidation of the dungeon and then from 1998 , the castle was refurbished to open to the public.


Perched 728 meters, dominates Quéribus ” Cucugnan ” and watch on the Corbières , and the valley of Fenouillèdes Roussillon .

aude cathar castle queribus Queribus is probably the best preserved of so-called ‘Cathar’ castles. It is characteristic of defensive constructions: achères to the rafters, loopholes and battlements for larger weapons fire. It is reached by a very steep path, which ends with a staircase leading to 4 platform several levels. Each address is defended by a curtain wall and a door. it is in the top two levels that stands the stately home, now partly destroyed. The enclosure is dominated by a polygonal tower that borders a terrace that looks down on the steep cliff. Inside the tower, a beautiful square room and vaulted open to you, maintained by a central pillar shaped palm.
Cathare castle pyrenees

The panorama terrace offers a magnificent view of the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean Sea and closer , the vineyards of Corbières.


Finished your visit ,  stop in Cucugnan . Made famous by Daudet in ” Letters from my mill. ” Indeed, this writer tells the story of the sermon of the priest of Cucugnan regretting that his parishioners who are lost in sin , invented an imaginary journey through hell and purgatory where he finds all his people trapped in of agony ; This sermon was indeed served to Cucugnan by Abbot Ruffié 1858 Blanchot Brenas while traveling poet in the Corbières bring Alphonse Daudet in Provence where the will take over .

In the church of Saint Julien , you will discover a strange statue of the Virgin Mary , represented with the rounded belly of a pregnant woman . You can also see the wind mill Omer , built on the rock , refurbished in 2003 which now unfold its wings canvas in the azure sky . With its pivoting roof , he seeks the best direction to catch the wind and thereby actuate the shaft that drives the granite millstones own to crush the grain.

After such a trek , you certainly earned your ticket back to your campsite, the mill of Alíes bridge to enjoy calm in your mobile home or tent , lulled by the river rolling to his feet.


Opening hours

Your ticket to visit the castle entitles you to entry to the theater Achille Mir Cucugnan .

You can with an additional benefit from the audio guide


1st week of January , November and December : 10h -17h

February: 10h -17h30
March: 10h-18h
April, May , June, September : 9.30am- 19h
July and August : 9h -20h
October: 10h -18h30
Closed the last 3 weeks of January

Theater Achille Mir:

1ère semaine de janvier, novembre et décembre:  13h-18hcastle Queribus visit pays cathare

February: 13h-18h30
March: 10h-19h
April, May, June, September: 10h-20h
July and August: 10 am to 20:30
October: 13h-19h30
Closed the last 3 weeks of January

individual rates
Adult Tickets: € 5.5
Child (6-15 years): 3 €
Adult fare Passport: 4,5 €
Audio: 4 € and the second one offered

group rates
from 20 reservation
Tickets: 4 € / person Duration: 1 hour
Guided tour: 4 € / person + 65 € duration: 1:15

Services available on-site
Cultural Shop / Picnic Area / Toilet / Dogs allowed on leash
Payment Methods Accepted
Cash / bank and postal checks / Credit Card / Holiday vouchers / Eurocard-Mastercard




CASTEL PUIVERTPuivert castle

It is thirty minutes ( 25 km ) you can reach the site of the castle of Puivert starting at the camp of Alies Mill Bridge . It is located in the country of Quercob overlooking the village of Puivert and its lake. Built on a natural platform 600 m alitude , it is relatively well preserved considering its turbulent history .


The castrum Puivert was built in 1153 . It was a mecca of entertainment where tournaments, jousting knights and festivals were held regularly even in the presence of Eleanor of Aquitaine . Puivert standing reputation for a huge room where musicians and being love stories were sung by the greatest troubadours of the time. Like many castrums , Puivert protected the powerful lords of the land Quercob who practiced Catharism and therefore not escaped the Albigensian Crusade .
In 1210 , a column led by Thomas Pons de Bruyeres sent by Simon de Montfort, stormed the castle after three days of siege capitulated . The castle then passed to the royal power under the administration of the Pons family Bruyeres .

In the early fourteenth century Thomas Bruyeres rebuilt with a new castle dungeon , lecture room in the castle , and the possession of the castle then lost in many administrative territorial negotiations . Louis XIV erected the barony in marquisat for Sainte Colombe Roux family who kept the castle but that did not stop over time to degrade and be dismantled. 1907 is that it is a historical monument. Safeguarding campaigns will be carried out between 1950 and 1970 and still its owner Michel Mignard attempts by its action to maintain the radiation of the castle by a regular restoration.


The walls of the castle lies on 175 m length initially provided eight rounds 5 of which are still standing and well preserved .

The dungeon on a 15 m stands 35m tall. It has 5 levels: two partially underground below , a third level occupied by a chapel decorated columns, moldings and emblems and pierced with windows to three lobes;

castle puivert detailscastle puivert history

a fourth floor room which houses the famous musicians where you can admire the decorative sculptures, intricately carved named after characters carved into each instrument a rich representation of the musical diversity of the time, probably a tribute to the life sumptuous and cultural castle during the time of his greatness. This decorative set is unique in Europe and is undoubtedly recognized as a treasure of French heritage. Finally a fifth level that ensured the defense of the castle, surrounded by a now defunct aliasing and opens onto a panorama offering our gaze snowy peaks of the Pyrenees.

But still, Puivert is a castle defense and watch, pierced with loopholes which initially was surrounded by a fossé.On enter through a door surmounted a

cathar castle puivertsquare tower qu’enserre a curtain around the perimeter of the Aude Cathar muraille. Despite the loss of its original defensive structures, Puivert remains a destination not to be missed especially for its wonderful interior decorations.


Do not miss the museum has a collection Quercob impressive medieval instruments. You can also stroll along the banks of the lake and travel the 14 hamlets that have the common Puivert who kept the authenticity of yesteryear with troughs and washing, Leaving the village using the d117 you get after 15 kms forest Picaussel which houses the cave guerrillas vestige of the war of 1939/45.



Tour from April 1st reservation.


December 15 to April 30: 10 am to 17 pm

closed except during school holidays on Saturday all areas

From May 1 to November 15: 9 am to 19 pm

Annual closure: from 15 November to 15 December



Adults 5 €

Children (5-12 years) 3 €

Groups from 20 persons 4 €



 CASTLE MONTSÉGURMontsegur castle


The campsite  is one hour from the famous castle . Its tragic history , back in the collective memory , catalyzes the drama lived in this area during the crusade against the Albigensians . Do not miss this legendary site that feeds many stories related to the myth of the ” Grail ” cup in which Joseph of Arimathea had collected the blood of christ . Montsegur and his legend still inspires today well-known artists like Era or the heavy metal band Iron Maiden, who both spent at Montsegur one of their albums.

Solar phenomenon is a further feature of the site that can make you venture into this place . Indeed, the winter solstice , the first light rai through the castle in all its length while at the summer solstice, the first solar radius through the 4 archers dungeon located NW with an accuracy that seems to have been calculated with a very high accuracy. We also observed this phenomenon in the castle of Queribus .

Finally , there is a Legend : the treasure of the Cathar church , supposed to have been housed at Montsegur . Two facts are fueling this version of the story : In 1243 , the flight of the castle a perfect name Mathieu Bonnet and deacon , taking with them a large amount of gold, silver and currency to a large community Cathar in Italy and in 1244 , four men carrying with them a load result but according to historians , it would be rather numerous texts preserved by the perfect in the fortress.
All these historical and extraordinary items Montsegur give an aura that converges thousands of visitors each year the worm ” pog “.

Take advantage of you near your campsite Mill Bridge of Alies to a dizzying dive in one of the highest places of the Cathar legend.

The History of CASTLE

As so often in Cathar country, Montsegur was a castrum (fortified village) before a defensive castle of the royal power .

Built on a rocky outcrop called ” pog “, meaning mountain shaped Sugar Loaf and perched at 1207 m altitude, the castrum was ruined when Raymond Such in 1204 , rebuilt a shelter at the request of the Cathar church. In 1215 , the castrum is cited as a heretic lair. In 1230 , the buildings were not yet the castle as we know , was a garrison strong a hundred men under the command of Pierre Roger de Mirepoix , knight dispossessed of their land by the Treaty of 1229 became military master of Montsegur. Outside its walls, a defensive village was occupied by the perfect. In the first half of the thirteenth century , the fortress repulsed three seats of royal hordes. But in 1242 , after the massacre of members of the Inquisition Avignonet Louis IX decided to storm the citadel headed Hugues des Arcis , Seneschal of Carcassonne. In May 1243 , no less than 6000 beleaguer Montsegur. After a long period , the breakthrough of the seat is made through bold attackers climbed a cliff at night to capture one of the watchtowers . A trebuchet was mounted on top of the tower and it was the beginning of the end. After a siege that lasted 10 long months , Pierre Roger de Mirepoix negotiate the surrender , which provides :

the lives of soldiers and lay people will be spared ,
perfect to deny their faith will be saved,
a truce of 15 days is granted for the Cathars who want to prepare and receive the last sacraments .

The Cathars , over 207 people who did not accept to renounce their faith were brought to the stake , joined by some soldiers who accompanied him to death did not want to abandon them. A total of 220 people died that day . A monument was erected by the company Cathar remember where we read: ” Als catars , als martirs del amor pure crestian . 16 març 1244 ”

Crusades Aude Cathar castle


After the capture of the fortress is Guy de Levis, Marshal de Foix who took possession of the site and as for the other Cathar castles, the royal power instituted defensive adjustments to the castrum a military castle and until treated Pyrenees who drove to the border line of the peaks of the Pyrénées mountains.
In 1862, the castle became a historical monument and restoration begins in 1948 with the excavation of the enclosure.
From the castle, igniting the imagination always welcomes guests after a long climb for about an hour. That is why, for his visit we advise you to bring water and a sporty outfit before leaving the campsite.


Pays cathare castle Montsegur

So it takes an hour to climb the narrow, winding path leads to the top of the pog and reach the castle . There are only two access doors : one to the north and south . You enter through the south gate .

The total enclosure of the castle stretches over 80 meters in length and 20 meters in width. It housed shops, tank , housing and stables. At the end of the enclosure, a dungeon highest student plain . It encloses the lordly accommodation on the first floor, accessed by a single staircase which itself encloses a door that opens onto an outdoor wooden bridge giving access to the top of the keep . Wooden galleries attached to the wall allowed the defense of the castle and ran all around the walls .


Do not forget to stop in the village of Montsegur Castle. This village whose houses align the contour is typical of the architecture of the uplands.

Montsegur is dominated by the mountain of Frau by the peak and peak Soularac Saint Barthelemy offering many hiking trails . In the village center you will find a museum with a thorough reading of archeology , including excavation of GRAME , research institute for 50 years undertaking archaeological site with updated centerpiece of the defense business the castle. You can also find the skeleton of a man and a woman found at the foot of the citadel, pierced with an arrow indicating their death during one of the seats of the castle. During the summer season , many events are offered by the tourist office : Traditional , village festivals , Trail citadels , arts festivals etc …

Around Montsegur, some other attractions await you: the medieval town of Mirepoix, the Textile Museum in Lavelanet , Subterranean River Labouiche , prehistoric caves and career Luzenac talc , the largest operation in the world.

You can also browse through the gorges of the Frau and the Sault .

As you can see , Montsegur and its surrounding area is full of sights to see family.
Although replete with stories and fantastic scenery , it will be time to find your nest camping Moulin du Pont of Alies and share your thoughts with a drink at the bar of the campsite.



Every day from February 1 to December 31 ( except Dec. 25 ) .

– February : 11 am to 16 pm (closed in case of very bad weather )
– March : 10 am to 17 pm
– April : 10 am to 18 pm
– May , June : 10 am to 18 pm ( no extra costs commented on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at 14 h and 15 h visits).
– July , August : 9 am to 19 pm ( Commented no extra costs every day at 11 am , 13 h , 15 h and 16 h 30 visits).
– September : 10 am to 18 pm ( no extra costs commented on Saturdays and Sundays at 14 h and 15 h visits).
– October : 10 am to 17h.
– November : 11 am to 16 pm .
– December : 11 am to 16 pm (closed in case of very bad weather )

For guided tours (about an hour ), excluding those specified days and times above, they are available all year on reservation and for groups from 20 persons: conditions and booking guide to the Phone May 61 1 June 94 May 61 or January 10, 27
Groups under 20 people can however book a guided conditional to pay the minimum price for 20 people visit.

In case of bad weather , guided tours in the museum premises .

Dogs on leash are allowed .

RATES castle

open Houses

Individual .

Adults: € 4.50
Children 8-15 years : 2 €
Children under 8 years free

School groups ( 8-15 years ): 2 €
Adult groups (from 16 years): € 3.50

Individuals Guided tours scheduled at fixed days and hours May to September (see page Opening hours ) does not result in additional costs .

* Groups : School groups (8 to 15 years) : 4 €
Adult groups (from 16 years) : 5 €

open Houses
Individual : Adults: 2 €
Children 8-15 years : 1 €
Children under 8 years free

Discount tickets CASTLE MUSEUM + ( to take counter castle or museum )
FREE VISITS: Adults : 5 €
Child 8-15 years: € 2.50
Children under 8 years free



CASTEL of USSONcastle Usson

It is a site you can see in one afternoon , being twenty miles (25 minutes) Camping Le Moulin du Pont of Alíes . The route follows the 118 county bordering the Aude offering beautiful scenery , mountains bathed in the greenery of the surrounding deep forests . Located on the border between the departments of Aude and Ariège , the castle stands at 920 m altitude on a rock that stands out alone in the Cathar sky.


Possession of the Lords of So and Allion , powerful barons of Roussillon, the castle of Usson control the Aude valley and protected the country Donezan any incursion. During the Albigensian Crusade , although the Lord Bernard Allon has pledged allegiance to Simon de Montfort, the fortress of Usson remained a refuge for the perfect car crossed could not chase the Cathar castle of Usson since then on territory of the Aragonese . Bernard Allon even send his guardsmen support Montsegur in 1244 against the Crusaders. It seems that in this difficult period, despite some notable stripes, the Cathar country has retained great unity against the invaders of royal power. Thus , it appears in the records of the Inquisition 6 Montsegur people have managed to escape the pyre and are refugees Usson .

A small anecdote : even today, the legal point of view , no records indicating payment of the field Usson the French royalty. Indeed, when the Treaty of the Pyrenees , the territory of Donezan was not mentioned and then forgotten ! This territory is not out of the Aragonese area Spanish today!

Like most Cathar castles , activity time that military castle became obsolete with the Treaty of the Pyrenees away the border with Spain, on the ridgeline .

It was then occupied by the family Usson ‘s Bonnac . Jean Louis Usson transform the medieval buildings into a residential home in the style of the 18th century. During the Revolution , the castle was dismantled , sold in batches. Throughout the nineteenth century, it became a career for all buildings in the country. In 1990, a rehabilitation plan will emerge, which will prevent it from falling completely in ruins , including the development of a heritage home in the old institutions within its lower chamber stables.


Your ticket gives you access to the castle and to the house of patrimoine.Cet building has changed considerably according to those who occupied it . It has undergone major changes over time .
Reduced its stone construction and start the castle is of little importance : it will be expanded between the twelfth and fifteenth century , including the construction of a tower spur and a chicane. It was not until the eighteenth century that he will lose the characteristics of a military bastion to become a residential castle with a very spacious dining room , marble fireplaces and stables .

Today, Heritage House offers visitors a place of memory and discovery of the site, with 700 m2 of exhibition to learn about everyday life in the Middle Ages and different centuries that have followed , as well as the rich Heritage Donezan countries .

Temporary exhibitions are renewed every 2 years.


Enjoy a trip back in time by visiting the villages and Rouze Mijanes . casaliers known as the authority was under the aegis of a village chief . In these villages , the church is eccentric , evidence that the organization of the village, is prior to the Christianization of the country made ​​under the Carolingian period. The name comes from its Donezan Roman occupation ( donacanum villa ) which means the firm attesting to the occupation of this place forever.

We recommend you to stroll to explore this territory will offer surprises : The Vauban bridge , stone buildings , ordered by Vauban to be the road connecting the south of royal power Donezan ; cairns ( stone lifting ) of the neck Pailhers , landmark mountain on qu’abritaient paths to those built in the nineteenth century , the factors that had to do their daily rounds in all weathers , the orrys and huts , refuges stone shepherds during the summer ; terminals engraved vestiges of forest boundaries lords iron mine open pit mine and Boutadiol talc Artounant ; short, a wide range of agro-pastoral heritage that will not leave you indifferent and largely occupy your day before returning to camping mill of Alíes Bridge .


Opening hours 2013

20 February to 20 May 14h-18h
July and August 10h-13h and 15h -19h
From 1 to 15 September 14h-18h
CAUTION Last visit 45 minutes before closing

2013 Individual Rates
Adult Tickets: € 4.00
Child ( 6-15 years) : 2,10 €
Passport adult fare : 3,00 €
Group rates 2013
from 10 people
Free visit : 3,00 € / person , duration: 1:20
Guided tours by reservation : 4,00 € / person Duration: 1h30 to 2h

Services available on-site
Picnic Area / Toilets / Disabled access only ground floor /
Dogs allowed on a lead
Payment Methods Accepted
Cash, Cheques and postal orders

Castle Usson
09460 Rouze
Tel: 04 68 20 43 92
email: ot@donezan.com
Site: www.donezan.com

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CASTLE of ARQUEScastle arques Aude

Distant 32 km (35mn) from your campsite Mill Bridge Alies, another site not to be missed.
The route takes you north, first Quillan then Couiza, you then follow the river to get to Réalsès Castle of Arques. Unlike most of Cathar castles, this one is located in a large plain near the village of Arques.

tourisme castle cathar arques


The Arques family, first owner mentioned in 1011 , was deprived of the castle in favor of the House of Terms , the Lords of the most powerful of the Bas- Languedoc . They support the Cathars and Berenguer arques account Guillaume Peyrepertuse among his friends.

In 1217 , Simon de Montfort , the armed wing of the crusade against the Albigensians , fire the village and manor house and have offered land Arques his lieutenant Pierre de Voisins . This is Gilles de Voisin in the thirteenth century began the construction of the castle will be completed by 1316 by his son. It was Simon de Montfort to entrust the protection of transhumance routes taken by the Cathars in the Corbières . In 1518 , Françoise neighbors, last heiress , married Jean de Joyeuse who inherited the castle . But that will be abandoned in favor of Couiza .

In 1575 , the castle was besieged by Protestants and resists the dungeon. Gradually, it will fall into disrepair and will be sold to the Revolution as a national asset . In 1887 , it is a historical monument and is partially restored to be open to visitors.


The stone castle golden sandstone is composed of a long rectangular enclosure 55m surrounding the square tower 11m 24m 25m sides and top , flanked by four corner towers , considered one of the masterpieces of gothic military architecture. Access to the enclosure is via a door equipped with a Gothic arch machicoulis , stone structure provided with square opening for the fire upon the besiegers . It has 4 floors served by a spiral staircase : the first consisting of two beautiful vaulted rooms , with the second floor and the top floor was dedicated to the defense of the castle , forty soldiers could park , going head to achères built in the walls.
One corner of the enclosure houses a house tour and the other chapel.


Intérieur château Arques Tourisme et patrimoine

The set is beautifully preserved and shows the wealth and taste of the lords of the medieval period.

With your entry ticket to the castle , you also get access to Déodat Roché , first historian of Catharism , where a permanent exhibition makes you revisit the history of Catharism and its extension in our contemporary era house .

Finally, you will not fail to appreciate the Bastide d’Arques and alleys where available under many character features facades of the architecture of the Middle Ages .


In the town of Arques , you find the lake a little over 500 meters from the village where you can stop for a picnic or will you do the arboretum Planel .

But maybe you prefer to know the mystery of the Abbé Saunière at Rennes le Chateau on your drive back to the campsite Moulin du Pont Alies . Indeed, the mystery of this little priest curiously enriched with some Cathar treasure remains. You can wander between the church Sainte Marie Madeleine , the gardens, the Tour Magdala , the Villa Bethania , the orangery and the presbytery of the Abbé Saunière.

What power your conversations with friends in the evening with a drink at the bar of the campsite.


March, October and November : 10h-13h and 14h-17h
April to June and September : 10h-13h and 14h-18h
July and August : 10h -19h
Closed in January, February and December

House Déodat Roché :
March and October to mid -November 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. et
April to June and September 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. et
July and August 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Closed in January, February and mid-November to late December
2013 Individual Rates
Adult : 5 €
Child: 2 €
Passport adult fare : € 4 AND partnerships ( Rennes le Chateau , guide book … ) : 4 €



OTHER Cathar castles

Termes-Durfort-Lastours-Miglos-Miramont-Niort-Padern-Pieusse-Roquefixade-Saissac-Villerouge-Termenès Aguilar -La – Carcassonne –

The castles of TERMES and DURFORT are distant two miles and can be done in the same trip . They are about sixty kilometers from the campsite to the Moulin du Pont Alíes . You can access it by two roads to choose to vary the routes : For the D117 back to the north by Quillan and Couiza , most direct route or the tiny roads in the scrub with stunning views over the village and mountains, to the is spinning in Saint Paul Fenolheda then join the D7 and D10 to Cubieres on Cinoble continue until the D14 Soulanges then take the D212 to Pont d’ Orbieu finally spinning on the D613 which crosses Mouthoumet , Laroque de Fa then turn to take the D40 in the direction of Terms … Needless to say, this very scenic route that is much more complicated to follow but lovers of peace and vagrancy appreciate.

cathar castle  durfort

Castle Durfort

Castle ruin Durfort still has a watch tower and turrets. The castle overlooks the valley of the Orbieu.


Castle TERMES is one of five son of Carcassonne. It is accessible only by its southern face. Ranked late historical monuments, he has not benefited from a restoration program also pushed its neighbors. You can see the iconic cruciform window of his chapel. The site is against invested significant archaeological research that has identified a medieval staircase, an old cistern and various rooms.

Cathar castle

Aude cathar castle TERMES


CASTLE of AGUILAR, perched above the village of Tuchan distant 55 kms of your camping is an hour’s drive along the road of Saint Paul de Fenouillet then Dhuilac. Besides the castle with its remarkable Romanesque chapel and its traditional defense systems, you can admire the flower village of Tuchan whose medieval defensive style has been preserved, Chapel Faste nestled in the slopes of Mont Tauch, the highest massif des Corbières .


cathar castles

Castle of Aguilar


Castle Latours consists of four separate buildings (Cabaret, Surdespine, Quertinheux and Régine Tower), built on a rocky outcrop 300 meters. This is a site of exceptional beauty and remarkable originality. This set dominates the course of Orbiel and Grézillou and verouillait the country Cabardès.
Access to the visit of castles and medieval village by a footpath then Montfermier gazebo offers an impressive panorama of the entire site. You can also discover the cave “the hole in the city”, a shelter that has innumerable rock.

pyrenees castles france

castles Lastours in Aude France

Castle Miglos
Overlooking the village of Arquizat, the ruins of this castle watches over the valley of Vicdessos accessible by the D156. Its enclosure is elliptical 100 meters long and 30 wide. It remains today a quadrangular building

Pays cathare et ses châteaux

Castle Miglos

Castle Padern located in the town of the same name overlooking the gorges of Verdouble. Until the 18th century it was converted into a convenience “modern” and was abandoned in 1790. Access is easy, his defenses have been minimal. Its walls a large thickness has kept all its majesty. With its 3 floors, there remains today only 4 steps that were up in the dungeon.


Padern Cathar castle france

casle Padern


Castle Saissac
Belonging to the powerful family Saissac, vassal of the Vicomte de Carcassonne. Subject to fairly quickly crossed the Saissac lost the castle but they will be returned under Louis XI and then go from hand to hand. In 1979, as a result of work done in the municipality, the “treasure Saissac” was updated with 2000 denier dating from 1250, Royal Mint, which attests to the authority of the Capetian administration in the region.
Built at the entrance of the Black Mountain, the castle watches over the village of Saissac. Has entry fee and access is through a municipal building. The owner of the premises mayor since 1995 has restored two rooms of the house of the body to implant a small museum to discover the hoard.


cathar castles saissac france

castle of Saissac

Castle Villerouge Termenès is an imposing castle which was the possession of the Archbishop of Narbonne. It is an outstanding example of medieval architecture and has been fully restored. Located sixty miles Axat in the country of the High Corbières, this is a must visit.
Located in the heart of the village of Villerouge Termenès it offers a scenography with mannequins, audios, videos and slideshows, dedicated to the life of the Crusaders, the power of the Archdiocese and daily life in the 14th century.

cathar castle Termenes villerouge france

Fortress castel Termenes-villerouge, aude, France

Finally facing wing of the fortified castle you can eat at the unique medieval rotisserie, in Europe, the kitchen dishes restores the twelfth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Your visit will cost € 6 for adults and € 2 for children 6-15 years.

Restaurant medieval  Termenes villerouge forteress cathar france

medieaval Restaurant castle Termenes-villerouge aude




Tags: Cathar castles, the Cathar trail, the castles of the Cathar country, Aude campisite, campsite Pyrenees