Castles in Occitanie

Château de Bonrepos

Château de Bonrepos was built by Pierre-Paul Riquet in 1651. The castle is surrounded by moat spanned by two bridges. The pleasure gardens of the castle of are registered as Remarkable Gardens of France.
Founded: 1651 | Location: Bonrepos-Riquet, France

Château de Montaigut

The first traces of the Château de Montaigut date from the 10th century. Built on a rocky outcrop dominating the valley of the Dourdou de Camarès river, it defended the town of Saint-Affrique against attacks from the south. Enlarged and transformed in the 15th century by the Blanc family, it was restored several times before falling into ruin. The castle was finally restored in 1989. The castle is built over a medie ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Gissac, France

Château de Saint-Alban

The first mention of the Château de Saint-Alban dates back to 1188. It was besieged several times during the Hundred Years" War. The three existing towers were added in the 15th century. Since 1824 the castle has been used as psychiatric center.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole, France

Château de Brousse

Château de Brousse is large medieval fortress. It belonged to the Arpajon noble family from 1204 until 1700. The first known owners were counts of Rouergue in the 10th century. Today the castle is open to visitors. Among the beautiful fortifications there is a landscaped rose garden and an prehistoric megalith dating from around 3rd millenium BC.
Founded: 10th century | Location: Brousse-le-Château, France

Château de Saint-Izaire

The Château de Saint-Izaire is a 14th-century episcopal castle. It is maintained by an association known as Vie et Château (Life and Castle), who have created a mini museum on the premises to record the history of the castle and the inhabitants of the village of Saint-Izaire. The castle is a massive quadrangular red stone building that shelters the town hall of the village of Saint-Izaire. The structure is supported ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Saint-Izaire, France

Château de Puivert

The Château de Puivert is a so-called Cathar castle on top of a hill overhanging the village and lake. The construction of the present chateau dates from the 13th century. The first mention is in 1170 when it belonged to the Congost family before the Albigensian Crusade. These lords practised Catharism and were accused as heretics. Then, in November 1210, the castle was subjected for three days to a siege by the army of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Puivert, France

Château de Castelbouc

Château de Castelbouc lies in the small village of Castelbouc on an beautiful rock spur. The castle was first mentioned in the 12th century, when it was owned by Etienne de Castelbouc. In 1592 the castle was razed during the Wars of Religion.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sainte-Enimie, France

Château de Laréole

Château de Laréole was built in 1579 by Pierre de Cheverry, a son of a great pastel merchant. The construction of the castle lasted three years and the Cheverry family kept the castle until 1707. After the Great Revolution, the castle changes hands several times before it was abandoned in1922. In 1984 the General Council of Haute-Garonne bought the property and restored it. Today the site is open to the public and ...
Founded: 1579 | Location: Laréole, France

Château de Canet-en-Roussillon

Château de Canet-en-Roussillon was the castle of viscounts mentioned first time in the mid-11th century. Some parts of the original castle still remains, like the St. Martin"s chapel. The castle has been remodelled several times and it was finally abandoned after the French Revolution (it was then used as a stone quarry).
Founded: 11th century | Location: Canet-en-Roussillon, France

Château de Termes

The Château de Termes is one of the so-called Cathar castles. Built on a promontory, defended on three sides by formidable deep ravines, the crumbling ruins of the castle cover an area of 16 000m². Held by the Cathar heretic Ramon (Raymond) de Termes, the castle only fell to Simon de Montfort after a siege lasting four months, from August to November 1210, the hardest siege of the first period of the Albigensia ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Termes, France

Castella de Saint-Sulpice

On the mound near L"Agout river, in Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe, are preserved ruins of the keep and the chapel of the old castle built around 1240 by the Albigensian lord Sicard Alaman. The castle is listed as a historic monument, it is one of the unmissable sites of the city of Saint-Sulpice-La-Pointe. Perched on the old castle mound, the remains of the Castela Castle chapel founded by the great Albigensian lord Sicar ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe, France

Château d'Entraygues

Château d"Entraygues was built by Henry II, Count of Rodez, between 1278 and 1290. Entraygues was a strategic point at the crossroads of transportation routes, at the junction of Auvergne and the Lot Valley. The first conurbation must have been at St-Georges (remains an old,  Gothic style edifice, far more important when it was a parish church, on a terrace). From the end of the construction of the fortifed ca ...
Founded: 1278-1290 | Location: Entraygues-sur-Truyère, 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 Saint-Félix-Lauragais

Château de Saint-Félix-Lauragais was originally constructed in the 11th century. The first Synod of the Cathar church, known as the Council of Saint-Félix was held there in 1167. In the 14th century, the castle was transformed into a country house by a brother of Pope John XXII. The complex includes buildings from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Saint-Félix-Lauragais, France

Château de Castelnau-de-Lévis

The Château de Castelnau-de-Lévis was built at the beginning of the 13th century by Gicard Alamon, and called Castelnau de Bonnafonds. It was rebuilt by the Lévis in the 15th century, when the seigneurie came into the possession of Hugues d" Amboise, baron d"Aubijoux; the fief remained with his descendants until the seventeenth century. Hugues" grandson, Louis d"Amboise, comte d"Aubijoux and ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Castelnau-de-Lévis, France

Château d'Aguilar

The Château d'Aguilar is one of the so-called Cathar castles. The design of the castle witnesses the practical military thinking of the 12th century. The castle consists of an inner keep built in the 12th century, surrounded by an outer pentagonal fortification from the 13th century. This fortification is oriented such that its point guards the side most favourable to attackers. The keep and the inner hexagonal fortifica ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tuchan, France

Château de Mauvezin

Château de Mauvezin, occupied since protohistory, was transformed into a castrum in the Middle Ages and later into a castle. The castle was built by Gaston Fébus (also Phoebus) around 1380. Following the merging of Bigorre into the Kingdom of France in 1607, it fell into disuse and was dismantled piece by piece, its stones being used for other buildings. Today the castle is being restored and houses a historical ...
Founded: 1380 | Location: Mauvezin, France

Château de Hautpoul

The original castle in n a rocky spur was supposedly built in 413 by the Visigoths on the side of a mountain, defended by almost inaccessible cliffs. This fortress controlled the Arnette and the Thoré valleys, overlooking the plain where the town of Mazamet now stands. Pierre-Raymond de Hautpoul is the first known lord of Hautpoul (mentioned in 1084). He rebuilt the castle, constructed the town walls and built the forti ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Mazamet, France

Château de Pibrac

Château de Pibrac was built in 1540 to the site of older castle. It was damaged during the Revolution in 1794 and restored in 1887. The renaissance style residence is built of red brick. The castle itself consists of an old body and wings. The north wing is flanked by a round tower with terrace and has a staircase. The castle park, open to the public, was designed by the landscape architect Eugène Bühler in 1897.
Founded: 1540 | Location: Pibrac, France

Château de Lordat

Château de Lordat castle dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries (mentioned first time in 970 AD). Around 1244 it was occupied by the Cathars during the crusade against the Albigensians. Lordat family abandoned the castle at the time of religious wars of France. Dismantled by the order of Henry IV in 1582, the castle fell gradually in ruins. The entrance is protected by a square tower which still has its original a ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Lordat, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.