About Padern Castle
The Château de Padern is a ruined castle in the commune of Padern in the Aude département of France. It is one of the so-called Cathar castles, and was mentioned for the first time in 1026.
Padern Castle history
The castle’s history is somewhat unknown, likely because it did not play a very important part in the crusade against the Albigensians, as the neighbouring castles of Termes, Queribus or Peyrepertuse did.
As such, the exact year of construction is unknown. The village of Padern is recorded in 899 however, when Charles III – known as Charles the Simple – ceded the territory to Lagrasse Abbey, while the latter still belonged to the Counts of Toulouse and not to the Crown of France.
During the Albigensian Crusade, Chabert de Barbeira, Lord of Quéribus and one of the last nobles loyal to the Cathar cause, reportedly sheltered in Padern Castle. After the capture of his home of Quéribus in 1255, he negotiated his freedom for the abandonment of the castle to King Louis IX.
The Abbey of Lagrasse then recovered the castle, and in 1283 became the official proprietor through a transaction with Philip III of France (Philippe the Bold). The abbey remained the owner until 1579.
At the end of the 16th century and after the Wars of Religion, Pierre de Vic, originally from Girona (Catalonia), acquired the castle and made some additions. In 1706, his descendants resold the whole property to the Abbey of Lagrasse, which abandoned it at the end of the 18th century.
Padern Castle today
Today the castle lies in ruins on a hill overlooking the village of Padern, with footpaths traversing the nearby area. Due to the nature of the site however, visitors are prohibited from climbing up close to the castle, as it has never been preserved and risks further damage.
It may still be viewed from afar however, and from the hill may be observed beautiful views, with marked walking trails leading the way.
Getting to Padern Castle
Padern Castle is located in the village of Padern in France, which can be reached via the D14 road. A steep path leads visitors up the hill from the village for about 20 minutes.