Castles in Occitanie

Palace of the Kings of Majorca

The Palace of the Kings of Majorca is a palace and a fortress with gardens overlooking the city of Perpignan. In 1276, King James II of Majorca made Perpignan the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca. He started to build a palace with gardens on the hill on the south of the town. It was completed in 1309. In 1415, the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund of Luxemburg, organised a European summit in Perpignan, to convince the Avign ...
Founded: 1276-1309 | Location: Perpignan, France

Château de Peyrepertuse

Château de Peyrepertuse is a ruined fortress and one of the so-called Cathar castles located high in the French Pyrénées in the commune of Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse. The view of the castle from Duilhac (to the south) is impressive thanks to the 30 to 40 meter cliff on which the Castle is perched. The main entrance is located on the north side, but in the time of the Cathars, a secret passage through a ...
Founded: 806 AD | Location: Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse, France

Château de Villerouge-Termenès

The first historical data concerning the site of Château de Villerouge-Termenès dates from the 12th century. At that time and until the French Revolution, Narbonne"s powerful archbishops were the lords of the castle and village of Villerouge- Termenès. Even so, the castle was much coveted and occupied several times. Indeed, in 1107, Pope Pascal II had to confirm the Archbishop Richard as rightful ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Villerouge-Termenès, France

Château de Pailhès

Château de Pailhès is a fine example of medieval military architecture. It was built in the 12th century and reconstructed during 15th, 16th and 18th centuries. Today the castle is privately owned.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pailhes, France

Château de Montaillou

At the top of the Montaillou village is all that remains of The Château de Montaillou, the rectangular castle: a ruined tower and evidence of walls and earthworks. The castle was built by the lords of Alion around the end of the 12th century. Occupying a platform roughly 100m long by 30 to 40 m wide, all that now remains are three walls of the ruined keep. Access was controlled by a dry moat cut into bare rock. The ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Montaillou, France

Lastours Castles

The Châteaux de Lastours are four so-called Cathar castles on a rocky spur above the village of Lastours, isolated by the deep valleys of the Orbeil and Grésilhou rivers. These four castles constitute a single entity, even though they are not a single structure. The natural layout of the site permitted the economy of a fortress of great height. Plans were adapted to the rocks on which they were built. The con ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lastours, France

Château Royal de 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. The Château is the juxtaposition of at least four castles. Roussillon was conquered by the Romans around 120 BC and then occupied by the Visigoths from 418. The first mention is about a fortified site in Collioure under siege in 673, by Wamba, king of the Visigoths who lay sie ...
Founded: 1207 | Location: Collioure, France

Château du Champ

The beautiful Château du Champ was first mentioned in 1498 regarding the keep, donjon. The adjacent buildings were built in the 16th century.
Founded: 1498 | Location: Altier, France

Châteaux d'Aujac

Châteaux d"Aujac was built to symbolise the combined powers of the Anduze family and the Bishop Cheylard of Uzès, who lived there from the 12th century. From the square to the round tower, the Chateau and its village illustrate the development of castle construction from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Still inhabited to this day, this magnificent architectural ensemble is a listed Historic Monument and represe ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aujac, France

Château de Miglos

Dependent on the counts of Foix, the chateau at Miglos is mentioned in 1213, at the time of the inventory of the strongholds given back to the king of France. Miglos was a place of passage and of residence for numerous Cathar Perfects and believers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Miglos, France

Château d'Aumelas

Château d'Aumelas was mentioned first time in 1036. From to 1213 1350, Aumelas fell to the Kings of Majorca and finally to the possession of King of France. The castle was ruined in the 16th century after it was dismantled and damaged in the Wars of Religion.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Aumelas, France

Château de Calmont d'Olt

The Château de Calmont d"Olt is perched atop a basalt dyke. It provides a panoramic view of the Aubrac highlands. Flint fragments and a polished stone axe are evidence of occupation of the site for 5,000 years. The ministerium Calvomantese was first mentioned in 883, in documents from the Abbey at Conques. It has always had a military significance, commanding the road from Rodez to Aubrac and, more widely ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Espalion, France

Château de Coupiac

Dating from the 15th century, Château de Coupiac is formed by two T-shaped wings, built directly on the bare rock, flanked by three powerful round towers. These remaining towers show architectural differences, evidence of building over an extended period. Built in the flamboyant Gothic architecture, the castle impresses both in area and height, by the number of its machicolations, its latrines and its murder holes. It ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Coupiac, France

Château de Peyrelade

The Château de Peyrelade name is derived from the occitan 'Pèira Lada', meaning wide rock; an accurate description of the site. Objects found on the site suggest it was inhabited in prehistoric times. Thanks to its position controlling the entrance to the Gorges du Tarn, it was one of the most important castles in the Rouergue province. It existed at least as far back as the 12th century, and was the s ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rivière-sur-Tarn, France

Château de Calberte

Mentioned in documents from 1092, Calberte was one of the numerous feudal castles standing in the Cévenol valleys. It was hold turns by turns by Anduze and Budos families and was under the jurisdiction of Château des Portes. Abandoned at the end of the 14th century or at the beginning of the 15th century, it faded from memories until nowadays. Nobody could remember that the very name of Saint Germain de Calberte stems f ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Saint-Germain-de-Calberte, France

Palais de la Berbie

The Musée Toulouse-Lautrec is an art museum in Albi. It is dedicated mainly to the work of the painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec who was born near Albi. The museum opened in 1922 and is located in the historic center of Albi, in the Palais de la Berbie, formerly the Bishops' Palace, an imposing fortress completed at the end of the 13th century. Older than the Palais des Papes in Avignon, the Palais de la Berbie, former ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Albi, France

Château de Coustaussa

The original Château de Coustaussa was built by the Trencavels, Viscounts of the Razès, in the 12th century. It was the stronghold of Cathars until Simon de Montfort and his Crusaders conquered it during the Albigensian Crusade. After the Crusades, the Castle came into the possession of the de Montesquieu family. The present Château was apparently still in good shape until the 19th century, when an ente ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Coustaussa, France

Château de Margon

The imposing Château de Margon consists of a rectangular building flanked with three towers. It dates from the early 13th century and was attached to the Kingdom of France in 1221. Le Moine de Margon family has owned the castle since 1719. Two side wings were added inside the courtyard of the 16th century. Château de Margon has also remarkable gardens.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Margon, France

Château de Prat

Château de Prat was first mentioned in 1273 when it belonged to the Counts of Comminges. The castle dates mainly from the early 15th century. The chapel is decorated with a stained glass.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Prat-Bonrepaux, France

Château du Bousquet

Château du Bousquet was built in the 14th century. Today it hosts a museum of ancient art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The castle has very well-preserved sample of late medieval architecture (furnished interior, furniture, objects, paintings).
Founded: 14th century | Location: Montpeyroux, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.