Castles in Occitanie

Château d'Avensac

Château d"Avensac was built in the 14th century and rebuilt in 1830 .
Founded: 14th century | Location: Avensac, France

Château de Caumont

Château de Caumont consists of two buildings on a vast esplanade overlooking the Save river valley. The old castle built on the site of a fortified castle that belonged to Gaston Phoebus. The present Renaissance castle whose construction lasted from 1525 to 1535. The castle sits on two levels of underground vaults, it is flanked by four strong towers so that openings and slits control the facades. Two octagonal towers a ...
Founded: 1525-1535 | Location: Cazaux-Savès, France

Château de Beaumont

The Château de Beaumont was constructed in the 14th century. Significant building work was carried out in the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Gers, France

Château de Herrebouc

The Château de Herrebouc is a castle in the commune of Saint-Jean-Poutge. Though an older building, the present look of the castle is the result of a major campaign of construction work at the start of the 17th century. On the ground floor, the 17th century ceiling is partially conserved. The farm buildings date from this period. The pigeon loft is characteristic of the architecture of the time of Henri IV (reig ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Saint-Jean-Poutge, 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

Château de Calberte

Mentioned in documents from 1092, Calberte was one of the numerous feudal castles standing in the Cévenol valleys. It was hold turns by turns by Anduze and Budos families and was under the jurisdiction of Château des Portes. Abandoned at the end of the 14th century or at the beginning of the 15th century, it faded from memories until nowadays. Nobody could remember that the very name of Saint Germain de Calberte stems f ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Saint-Germain-de-Calberte, 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 Bertholène

Château de Bertholène history dates from early 12th century. The enclosure, several meters high, was equipped with numerous defensive elements. The castle was conquered and destroyed several times during its long existence. Since the early 19th century it has been abandoned and ruined.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bertholène, 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 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 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 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

Château de Courrensan

The Château de Courrensan was built in the 13thm 15th, 16th and 18th centuries. It has been protected as a monument historique since 1979 and is noteworthy especially for its 15th-century columned chimney in a second-floor room. A ground-floor room in the 18th-century wing contains impressive wood decoration.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Courrensan, France

Château de Mérens

Construction of Château de Mérens castle dates from the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th centuries. It was altered in the early 17th century. The hub of the castle corresponds to the original Gascon structure; the south west square tower belongs to this period of construction. At the start of the 17th century, the castle was furnished with a new system of defence, including a round walk. At the same time, wi ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mérens, France

Château du Bezu

Château du Bezu, also called Les Tiplies, was a Cathar castle located on a hill top near to the village of Le Bézu. In the popular imagination Le Bézu is an old Templar fortress, from where the Templars treasure was rescued when they were persecuted by the French King Philip le Bel in 1307. There is very little evidende that it was ever a Templar fortress, but plenty that it was a Cathar stronghold at ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Le Bézu, 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

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 Corbère

Château de Corbère was first mentioned in 1241, but it was built already in the 12th century. It was enlarged and remodelled in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 19th century it fell into disrepair before were completely looted. Today the castle is restored and privately owned.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Corbère, 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

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.