Pettingen Castle is one of the best preserved fortified castles in the country. In the 10th century, the fortress was known as Pittigero Mazini but received the name of Pettingen in the 13th century. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the Lords of Pettingen were important members of Luxembourg society. They were present at Ermesinde's wedding, at the coronation of Henri IV and at the signing of John the Blind's marriage contract.
At the beginning of the 14th century, Arnold of Pettingen married Marguerite of Rousy, the great grand-daughter of Ermisinde. He had a son, Arnold the Young, whose daughter Irmengard, by marrying Jean de Créhange, associated the Lords of Pettingen with his renowned family. Their grandson, also called Jean, fought for René, the Duke of Lorraine in the war against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. In revenge, Charles completely destroyed the Castle of Pettingen whose treasures were confiscated by the Governor of Luxembourg in 1494. However, as a result of a decree made at the Great Council of Mechelen in 1503, half of the treasures were returned and the castle was reconstructed in its present form. The four corner towers were added in 1571. In 1684, Louis XIV's troops bombarded the castle, leaving it as it stands today. The ruins, which belonged to the house of Créhange, were inherited by the Comtes de Lapérouse whose descendents sold it to the Duke of Arenberg in 1837. In 1910, his descendent, the Prince of Arenberg, removed everything of value from the castle. In 1920, the southern wall collapsed.
In 1947, the castle was acquired by the State of Luxembourg. Consolidation work was carried out on the walls and on the castle's two towers in 1950. The ruins are open to the public. The ramparts with two round towers on the north-eastern side still stand. The site forms a 30 by 30 metre square surrounded by a former moat 15 metres wide fed by the Weillerbach which flowed into the River Alzette.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.