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

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.