Castles in Occitanie | Travel Guides | History Hit

Castles in Occitanie

History Hit

24 Nov 2020

With such a wealth of astonishing places to discover, the fortresses in Occitanie remain a hugely popular draw. Among the top sites that people usually visit are Foix Castle, Cité de Carcassonne and -. There are other fabulous fortresses in Occitanie including -, – and -, which is one of the best known incredible castles in Occitanie. To begin your journey exploring the incredible castles in Occitanie you can view our editor’s selection of top picks below as well as checking out a host of other locations which you definitely won’t want to miss.

What are the best Castles in Occitanie?

1. Foix Castle

The Château de Foix is a castle which dominates the town of Foix in the French département of Ariège. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built In the style of a 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. 

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2. Cité de Carcassonne

Founded during the Gallo-Roman period (1st century BC – 5th century AD), the Cité de Carcassonne is a spectacular medieval citadel located in the French city of Carcassonne. The town has about 2,500 years of history and has been occupied in different ages by Romans, Visigoths, Saracens, and Crusaders. At the beginning of its history it was a Gaulish settlement then in the 3rd century AD the Romans decided to transform it into a fortified town. The Roman defences were in place by 333 AD, when the town is described as a castellum.

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3. Termes Castle

The Château de Termes is a ruined castle near the village of Termes in the Aude département of France. It is one of the so-called Cathar castles and one of the “sons of Carcassonne” (five castles defending the border with Aragon and later, Spain). Held by the Cathar heretic Ramon (Raymond) de Termes, the castle fell to Simon de Montfort after a siege lasting four months in late 1210, the hardest siege of the first period of the Albigensian Crusade.

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4. Castle of Collioure

The Château Royal de Collioure is a massive French royal castle in the town of Collioure, a few kilometers north of the Spanish border in the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. The first mention is about a fortified site in Collioure under siege in 673, by Wamba, king of the Visigoths who lay siege to the “Castellum Caucolibéri” to subdue a rebellion.

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5. Salses Fort

The Fort de Salses (also called Forteresse de Salses) is a Catalan fortress in the commune of Salses-le-Château, in the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. Built by the Catalans at the end of the 15th century, the fortress guarded the former frontier between Spain and France. Its layout and architecture, innovative for the time, present a rare example of the transition between medieval castle and the fortresses of the modern period.

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6. Saint-André Castle

The Fort Saint-André is a medieval fortress in the commune of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon in the Gard département of France. It dates from the first half of the 14th century. The fortress of Saint-André, with the curtain wall that surrounded an abbey built at the end of the 10th century, was built in several stages during the first half of the 14th century, likely soon after 1309 when Pope Clement V moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon, just across the Rhone.

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7. Saissac Castle

Once the residence of the powerful vassal family of Trencavel, the Château de Saissac is a ruined castle, one of the so-called Cathar castles, in the southernmost tip of the commune of Saissac in the Aude département in the north-west of Carcassonne, France. Based on historical texts, it can be dated to at least 960.

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8. Puivert Castle

The 12th century Château de Puivert is a so-called Cathar castle situated in the commune of Puivert, in the Aude département of France. The castle’s functions were military – lookout and defence, unlike many buildings of the era which had religious goals.The construction of the first castle dates from the 12th century. At the start of the 14th century, Thomas de Bruyère had the new castle built to the east of the old castle and the best preserved element is the square keep. The remains of the old castle are still visible.

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9. Cénevières Castle

The Château de Cénevières is a castle in the commune of Cénevières in the Lot département of France. The castle dates from the 13th century and has been significantly altered over the years, notably in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. According to tradition, the castle belonged to Waïffe or Waifer, Duke of Aquitaine, and played a role in his war against Pepin the Short. The castle stands on a rock and appears as a collection of irregular buildings, flanked by towers and terraces. 

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10. Vaillac Castle

The Château de Vaillac is a castle in the former commune of Vaillac, now part of Cœur-de-Causse, in the Lot département of France. The castle was built during the 13th century and was recorded during the Hundred Years’ War. The present building contains elements from the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

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