Castles in Occitanie

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 Doné ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rouze, 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 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 des Bourines

Château des Bourines was built as fortified barn in the 13th century. The courtyard is protected by a curtain wall flanked by four corner towers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bertholène, France

Château de Galinières

Galinières was originally dependent on the Bonneval abbey of Bonneval, constituted from donations of noble families of the region and the bishops of Rodez between 1163 and 1181. The current structure was built mainly in the late 14th century and 15th century.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Pierrefiche, France

Château de Roquedols

Château de Roquedols has probably stood on the site already in the 14th century. The first written document of dates only from 1607. There is a metion 1534 in the front door and the current building is probably built then. Roquedols Castle is built of two rectangular buildings, flanked by three round towers. 
Founded: 14th century | Location: Meyrueis, France

Château de Miral

The Château de Miral overlooks the confluent of the Runes River and Tarn River. It belonged in the 13th century to the Cahbrieres family and from the 14th century to the Malbosc family. Its keep was built towards the end of the 13th century as the seat of the Malbosc-Miral family. Its ramparts defended access to the upper Tarn valley. From the 14th to the 16th centuries, the Lords of Malbosc-Miral constructed t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bédouès, 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 Montalègre

Counts of Montalègre have been known since 1268 and the castle was probably built also in the 13th century. The castle dominates the Valley of the Sorgues. The feudal castle consists of an almost square square building with two floors, flanked by four round towers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Versols-et-Lapeyre, 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

Château de Teillan

Château de Teillan was built probably in the 9th and 10th centuries to the site of an ancient Roman castrum called Villa Telianum. In the 12th century it was sold to the abbey of Psalmody. The chateau is surrounded with a landscape park from the 19th century where are located Roman steles, milestones and a waterwheel. Today Château de Teillan is privately owned, but open in the summer season.
Founded: 9th century | Location: Aimargues, France

Château de Montialoux

Château de Montialoux was owned by the Barons of Tournel. Aldebert III of Tournel was born in Montialoux around 1100, but there is no evidence of castle then. The castle may have been destroyed in 1588 during the Wars of Religion as well as many other castles in the area. The new house was built in the 1660s and the castle served as a residence until 1782. It is today ruined but easily accessible.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Bauzile, France

Château de Salveterra

Château de Salveterra was built by Jacques I of Aragon in 1246 to the border between France and Kingdom of Aragon. It was besieged in 1598 and 1639 by French troops. In the 16th century, the village and castle were abandoned. The castle ruins remain south of the plateau today. It consists of an enclosure protected by a moat, tower, vaulted rooms and a walkway portion with battlements and loopholes.
Founded: 1246 | Location: Opoul-Perillos, France

Château de Cuxous

Château de Cuxous was built in the 11th century and mentioned first time in 1119. It was then rebuilt in 13th, 18th and 20th centuries.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cassagnes, Cuba

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 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 Brax

Château de Brax was originally constructed in the 13th century, but there were alterations and additions in the 16th and 18th centuries. The structure is enclosed by four circular towers. The rear façade incorporates the grand staircase. The brick walls are crenellated. The front opens onto parkland; access is by a double staircase. A round walk carried on machicolations formed of brick corbels and blind arcades ci ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brax, France

Château de Cambiac

The Château de Cambiac is a 15th-century castle, probably constructed on the foundations of an earlier structure. It was given to the sieur Milhau, constable of Montauban, by Marguerite de Navarre. At the end of the 19th century, massive restoration works gave the castle an extra floor and a pavilion. A Louis XII style was incorporated both inside and out.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Cambiac, France

Château de Valmirande

Built from scratch starting in 1892 by Baron de Lassus. Historic monument with a picturesque 100-acre park of character. The castle and its outbuildings were built by the architect Louis Garros.
Founded: 1892 | Location: Montréjeau, France

Château de Castagnac

Château de Castagnac was built in the 12th century to the site of older moated stronghold. The oldest document of castle dates from 1162. The current castle has a rectangular plan with four round towers at the corners. At the beginning of 19th  century, the castle was completely restored by the owners.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Castagnac, 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.