Castles in Occitanie

Duchy of Uzès Castle

The Duchy of Uzès castle is built on an old Roman Castrum (camp) which became the residence of the Governor in the first millennium. The architecture of the Duke"s chateau, named the Duchy is a potted history of France. The Middle-Ages, the Renaissance, the 17th century, and modern times are all there. Despite this, the ensemble is pleasing to the eye. During the difficult times of the Revolution the building ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Uzès, France

Château des Guilhem

The Château des Guilhem was built for the Guilhems, lords of Clermont-l’Hérault, at the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th centuries. The castle stands on Puech Castel hill, overlooking the town and surrounding country. The strategic site permitted control of the Hérault valley and the road to Bédarieux and the higher cantons, as well as the feudal town which was itself fortified so ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Clermont-l'Hérault, France

Château de Quéribus

Château de Quéribus is a ruined castle in the commune of Cucugnan. It is one of the 'Five Sons of Carcassonne', along with Aguilar, Peyrepertuse, Termes and Puilaurens: five castles strategically placed to defend the French border against the Spanish, until the border was moved in 1659. Quéribus was first time mentioned in 1021 when it was one of the main Barcelonan strongholds north of the Pyrenees. ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cucugnan, France

Château de Cajarc

Château de Cajarc, built in the 13th and 15th centuries, is an well-preserved example of mediaeval fortification. Especially noteworthy are the roofs, the round tower and its staircase and the inner courtyard and its walls. On the second floor, a vaulted room contains 17th-century paintings.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Salvagnac-Cajarc, France

Salses Fortress

Forteresse de Salses was built between 1497 and 1504, at the order of Ferdinand II of Aragon. It was designed by engineer Francisco Ramiro Lopez, the king’s commander and artillery master, to block access to France from Roussillon. It was originally destined to replace a previous château, from which the town takes its name (Salses-le-Château). The earliest records of this château, situated on a nei ...
Founded: 1497-1504 | Location: Salses-le-Château, France

Château d'Allègre

Château d"Allègre was first time mentioned in 1163. Today it lies in ruins.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Allègre-les-Fumades, France

Château de Quillan

Château de Quillan was first mentioned in 1125. There had been a fort built by Visigoths already in 781 AD. The castle was conquered by the Royal army of France in 1210 during the Albigensian Crusades. The castle got its current appearance in restorations of 1232 and 1341. Since then Quillan castle has been damaged in wars by Spanish Armies and Huguenots (1575).  Since the 18th century Château de Quillan was left to ...
Founded: 1232 | Location: Quillan, France

Château de Durfort

Château de Durfort was erected on a rocky piton which overlooks the valley of the Orbieu. The present ruins are those of a strengthened habitat, including a chapel, dwellings with rectangular windows and a tower. High thick walls, cellars and wells, arched rooms of square buildings, corner turrets, watch towers and a main tower are still visible. There is no documentary evidence for the initial construction of this fort ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Vignevieille, France

Fort Libéria

Built by Vauban in 1681 and fortified by Napoleon III, the Libéria fortress dominates the city with its ramparts, counterscarp galleries, bastions, chapel, archaeology and caving museum and a 734 steps underground staircase.
Founded: 1681 | Location: Villefranche de Conflent, France

Fort de Bellegarde

Le Perthus became French territory after the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659). The Spanish captured Bellegarde in 1674 and began work on new fortifications in 1675. These were not very far advanced when the place was recaptured by the French. In 1678 Vauban designed for Bellegarde a strong pentagonal fort with a detached hornwork extending southwards towards the frontier. The defences consist of a five bastioned trace, with ...
Founded: 1675 | Location: Le Perthus, France

Château de Roquessels

The Château de Roquessels was built in the 10th century. It was a dependency of the convent of Cassans, which collected tithes from the baron of Margon. In 1247, the inhabitants of the village, like all subjects of the Trencavels, viscount of Béziers, were released from their pledge of allegiance and submitted to the King of France. The castle resisted valiantly the assaults of Simon de Montfort"s army. Today, the ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Roquessels, France

Château de La Caze

Château de La Caze was built in the 15th century by Soubeyrane Alamand and Guillaume de Montclar. During the French Revolution it was used as a prison. Today it is a luxury hotel.
Founded: 1420 | Location: Sainte-Enimie, France

Château de Fressac

Château de Fressac was built probably in the early 13th century. According a legend, it was visited by Blanche of Castile, the mother of king Louis IX of France. In the 18th century Fressac was a refuge place during the wars of Camisards. Today it lies in ruins.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Fressac, France

Château du Tournel

Château du Tournel is the former seat of the Barons of Tournel, one of the eight baronies of Gévaudan. The castle is sited on a rocky outcrop which dominates the upper valley of the Lot. It is in a strategic position, taking into account the possessions of the Tournel family. From its towers, one can see Mont Lozère, the highest point in the region. Before the 13th century, the Tournel family regarded themselves ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Saint-Julien-du-Tournel, France

Château de Castanet

Château de Castanet was built in the 16th century in Pourcharesses near Villefort. The territory of Castanet has its origin in the name (chestnut) in the language Occitan. It is the most common tree in the territory. The castle is next to the lake of Villefort, an artificial lake created behind the Villefort"s dam, who went bankrupt destroy the castle. The castle was built in 1578 by Jacques Isarn, a noble of Ville ...
Founded: 1578 | Location: Pourcharesses, France

Mas de Las Fons

Mas de Las Fons castle was built from the 12th to 15th centuries. The Romanesque chapel dates from the 12th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Calce, France

Château de Padern

The Château de Padern was built overlooking the village of Padern on a limestone peak that dominates the Verdouble river running past the village. The paths to reach it are very steep, which made it practically impregnable. The castle is little known in the area, because it did not play a very important part during the crusade against the Albigensians, unlike the neighbouring castles of Termes, Queribus or Peyrepertuse. ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Padern, 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 Loupiac

Château de Loupiac was built in the 13th century. It is flanked with four round towers. The castle played an important role during the wars of Religion where it was caught and taken over by both sides. It was also conquered during the Revolution and burned down. Today it is privately owned.w
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lapanouse, France

Château La Commanderie

Château La Commanderie in Plaigne is one of the rare Cathar castles still inhabited. La Commanderie was built in the 12th century by Guillaume de Plaigne, a Cathar Lord, who took an active role in the massacre of Avignonet and afterwards joined the besieged stronghold as a member of the garrison, along with his brother, at the famous siege of Montségur. In the 16th century, Barthelemy de Plaigne extended the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Plaigne, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.

Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.

Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.

The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.