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 of the 13th century Toulouse, Foix and Carcassonne, became targets of the crusade against the Cathars. Fenouillet was not the theatre of military operations, but it was enmeshed in irreversible political and territorial changes. Bertrand de Saissac, Viscount de Fenouillet, as a senior vassal of the Trencavels, Viscounts of Carcassonne, was directly involved in the fight against the Albigensian Crusaders.
With the treaty of Corbeil, Fenouillet becomes a border area under the authority of the Viguiers of the Kings of France. Castel Fizel was mentioned in 1260, and it seems that the castle there was enfiefed by the King of France to vassals in 1262. Fenouillet is mentioned as a royal fortress in 1272, but it was not until 1290 that we find Sabarda as a royal fortress.
During the XIII and XIV centuries the castle was completely dismantled. A ramp, probably intended to facilitate the work of demolition, was built against the door of the keep. This abandonment of the main site and the transfer of military defence to the small nearby castle of Sabarda can be explained by the fact that the broad promontory on which the castle of Fenouillet is built, could only be defended with the assistance of the people of Castrum. Given the small size of the royal garrisons assigned to monitor the border, it was more reasonable to modernised and strengthen a castle of a more manageable size.References:
Olargues is a good example of a French medieval town and rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was occupied by the Romans, the Vandals and the Visigoths. At the end of the 11th century the Jaur valley came under the authority of the Château of the Viscount of Minerve. The following centuries saw a succession of wars and epidemics, and it was not until the 18th century that Olargues became re-established. This was due to the prosperity of local agriculture and artisanal industry.
The Pont du Diable, 'Devil's Bridge', is said to date back to 1202 and is reputed to be the scene of transactions between the people of Olargues and the devil. The old village is clustered around the belltower, which was formerly the main tower of the castle (Romanesque construction). The old shops have marble frontages and overhanging upper storeys. A museum of popular traditions and art is to be found in the stairs of the Commanderie.