About 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. Today a semi-ruined tourist destination, the castle’s functions were military – providing a lookout and defence, unlike many buildings of the era which had religious goals.
Puivert Castle history
The construction of the first castle dates from the 12th century when it is mentioned in 1170. Puivert Castle belonged to the Congost family before the Albigensian Crusade. These lords practised Catharism (unorthodox Christianity) and were accused as heretics. In November 1210, the castle was subjected for three days to a siege by the army of Thomas Pons de Bruyère, lieutenant of Simon de Montfort.
Subsequently, Puivert Castle became the property of the northern barons. All that is left of this older castle is a few sections of wall to the east. At the start of the 14th century, Thomas de Bruyère (grandson of Pons) and his wife 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.
Puivert Castle today
Today, sat 605 metres above sea-level overlooking the village and lake, Puivert Castle is open to the public and undergoing restoration. On the fourth floor of the keep is the minstrels’ room (‘salle des musiciens’), so called because eight very fine sculptures of musicians with their instruments are represented in the room. Legend has it that the town of Puivert welcomed a great gathering of troubadours in the 12th century.
Getting to Puivert Castle
Just off the D117 between Quillan and Lavelanet, Puivert Castle is an hour and 40 minute drive from Toulouse. The area is also serves a popular hiking route.