Castles in Occitanie

Château de Peyrebrune

Château de Peyrebrune was the residence of Panat lords from the 11th to 15th centuries. The tower dates from the 15th century. In the 17th century the castle was demolished to punish Calvinist leaders.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Alrance, 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 Lacaze

Château de Lacaze was mentioned first time in 1415 and reconstructed in 1598. It was badly damaged by fire in the 19th century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Lacaze, 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

Château de Cazelles

Château de Cazelles was built in the 13th century. Today the massive tower is the oldest remaining part.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Livers-Cazelles, France

Château d'Usson

The Château d'Usson is one of the so-called Cathar castles located in the commune of Rouze. It is sited upstream from Axat, along the Aude River gorge, carved out of the foothills of the Pyrenees. The castle dates from the 11th century (perhaps earlier) and during the Cathar period marked the eastern boundary of the territories of the Counts of Foix. In the 12th century, this was the capital of the Donézan region. Befo ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rouze, 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 d'Aurignac

The Château d"Aurignac was built on a hill before 1240 by Bernard V, Counts of Comminges, and the village developed around it. Henry IV ordered the destruction of the castle in the early 17th century and, although it was still partly inhabited in 1627, it fell into disuse not long afterwards. All that remains today are the church, a well-restored keep on the peak of the hill and some of the ramparts, which have ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Aurignac, France

Château de Lacassagne

The Château de Lacassagne is thought to date from the latter half of the 15th century, with additions and alterations made in every century until the 19th century. It originated as an ancient salle (hall) and was altered in the 15th century with the addition of a spiral staircase and windows. A residence was added in the 17th century. On the first floor, in a room known as the Salle des Chevaliers de Malte, the pain ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Saint-Avit-Frandat, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.