Castles in Occitanie

Château de Launac

Château de Launac was built by the viscounts of Gimoes in the 12th century. In 1148 the castle passed into the house of Isle Jourdain. Dismantled after the Treaty of Paris in 1229, the fortress was rebuilt in the fifteenth century by Carmaing Nègrepelisse. It consisted of four corner towers including an old keep from the twelfth century.  This castle was undoubtedly again dismantled by Cardinal Richelieu under the r ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Launac, France

Château d'Avezan

Château d"Avezan castle was built, probably in 1230, on the site of an older castle of which nothing remains. It was expanded in the 17th and 18th centuries. The castle was originally in the possession of the viscounts of Lomagne. In the 18th century the castle was passed into the hands of several families who lose interest and left it to decay. The castle has been restored since 1970s.
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Avezan, 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 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 du Colombier

The square tower is the oldest part of the Château du Colombier but the exact date of construction is unknown. It was enlarged during the 13th and 14th centuries. In 2001-2002, the opening of the Hall of Frescos completed the tour of the chateau and allowed visitors to experience the refinement of its Renaissance decoration (XVI century)
Founded: 13th century | Location: Salles-la-Source, 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 Loubens

From the original Château de Loubens castle remains today the main 15th and 16th century building and three towers which still bear their original Renaissance design. The north facade, facing the park, is framed by two defensive round towers. The high west walls plunge into a pond, remains of the original moat. On the south side, the castle sunny terrace overlooks the surrounding countryside. An hexagonal tower embeded i ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Loubens-Lauragais, 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

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 Cambiaire

Château de Cambiaire was built in the 14th century in the town of Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française. It is a quadrangular building with a round tower at three of its corners and a square tower at the northwest corner. It consists of three wings around a courtyard on the west side by a battlements surrounding wall pierced by a gate. The great crenellated tower, which dungeon office, is crowned on its summit terrace of a w ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française, 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

Château d'Onet

Château d"Onet was built in 1518-1519 for the canons of Rodez, who used it as summer residence. The history of original castle dates back to the 13th century. The furniture of castle was seized during the French Revolution in 1792.
Founded: 1518-1519 | Location: Onet-le-Château, France

Château Vicomtal Saint-Pierre

The Château Vicomtal Saint-Pierre de Fenouillet is a ruined 11th century castle in the commune of Fenouillet. In the 12th century, Bertrand de Saissac, Viscount de Fenouillet, was one of the major vassals of the Viscount of Carcassonne. Bernard is known for his Cathar beliefs, and his dislike of the Catholic Church. It is likely that the first Cathar preachers came to Fenouillet around this time. At the beginning ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Fenouillet, 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 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

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 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 Saint-Béat

Château de Saint-Béat dates from the 12th century. It was enlarged by Henri IV (1553 – 1610). Rulers rarely lived in Saint-Béat; the castle was occupied by captains until the 16th century. In 1588, the Parlement of Toulouse passed a law that required the inhabitants of Melles, Argut and Arlos by turns to guard the castle, subject to a fine of 500 écus. The castle never had to repel invasions, though its strat ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Béat, France

Château de Sainte-Mère

The Château de Sainte-Mère is a 13th-century ruined castle in the commune of Sainte-Mère. The castle was built at the time of the Treaty of Amiens (1279) by the Bishop of Lectoure, Géraud de Monlezun. It defended the frontier of the English possessions. The castle had a rectangular shape, with two towers attached to the north facade.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sainte-Mère, France

Château de Thibault de Termes

The Château de Thibault de Termes was a medieval castle in the French town of Termes-d"Armagnac. The construction of castle dates from the end of the 13th century and start of the 14th century for Jean, Count of Armagnac. The keep is 36 m high and includes six levels. Strategically built on a hill which dominates the valleys of the Adourand the Arros, it allowed the d"Armagnac family to keep watch over ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Termes-d'Armagnac, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.