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 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

Fort de Valros

The Fort de Valros is a ruined small castle or fortress. The site has no visible trace of occupation from antiquity, but archaeological digs have uncovered the remains of a necropolis used from the 8th to the 10th century. The promontory on which the fort stands is a strategic observation post. It dominates the valley of the Thongue and controls two very ancient communication routes: the roads from Béziers to Pézenas ...
Founded: 1199 | Location: Valros, France

Château de Montdardier

Château de Montdardier was built in the 12th century to the site of smaller fortification mentioned first time in 1099. The current appearance dates from the restoration made in 1860.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Montdardier, France

Chateau de Bramevaque

Chateau de Bramevaque was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. The keep is well-preserved, but the enclosure and the chapel are in ruins.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bramevaque, France

Château de Pieusse

The Château de Pieusse is one of the so-called Cathar castles. It is a 'true' Cathar castle in the sense that the site was never taken by the French crown during the annexation of Roussillon, but the buildings are mostly of more recent date. It is characterised by a keep, massive for the time, whose use was essentially defensive. The castle is currently private property and not open to the public. The cas ...
Founded: 1140-1145 | Location: Pieusse, 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 Puissalicon

Château de Puissalicon was built in the 11th century. Two imposing towers lies over the dungeon which is now in ruins. The castle is privately owned, but can be visited in part during the Heritage Days in September.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Puissalicon, 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 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 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 Fort des Angles

Château Fort des Angles was built in the 13th-14th centuries. After several centuries of abandonment, it was restored in 1980s.    
Founded: 13th century | Location: Les Angles, France

Château de Tramezaygues

Château de Tramezaygues was built in the 12th century. It served as a border watching post until the French Revolution.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tramezaïgues, France

Château de Terraube

The Château de Terraube was built around 1272 for the de Galard family, Merovingian dukes of Gascony; a date on the doorway confirms this. The de Galards have owned the castle ever since. It was altered and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries. The residence was enlarged from 1768 by the master masons Guillaume Gras, Jacques Lapeyronie and Dominique Ducasse. Two further residential buildings were added around 1773 ...
Founded: c. 1272 | Location: Terraube, France

Château de Pailhès

Château de Pailhès is a fine example of medieval military architecture. It was built in the 12th century and reconstructed during 15th, 16th and 18th centuries. Today the castle is privately owned.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pailhes, France

Château de Margon

The imposing Château de Margon consists of a rectangular building flanked with three towers. It dates from the early 13th century and was attached to the Kingdom of France in 1221. Le Moine de Margon family has owned the castle since 1719. Two side wings were added inside the courtyard of the 16th century. Château de Margon has also remarkable gardens.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Margon, France

Château de Pagax

Château de Pagax was built in the 13th century, the oldest mention dates from 1259. During the Renaissance the castle was rebuilt, and large windows were pierced to the walls.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Flagnac, 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

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.