Château Vicomtal Saint-Pierre

Fenouillet, France

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.

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Fenouillet, France
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Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Osh (19 months ago)
Very much a ruin, but with a few surviving features (barrel vaults) and, in Spring, replete with wildflowers and bumblebees. A suggested day walk would start (and finish) at Notre Dame de Laval (where there is parking), follow the Gorges de Saint Jaume (spectacular and cool on a hot day) to the old mill, then climb to the village proper and the chateau. The village is charming and there are public toilets in good order. The Tour Sabarda on the hill opposite the Chateau is worth the walk for the view alone.
Jean Claude Dissard (2 years ago)
environnement agréable, belles randonnées à pratiquer dans la région, malheureusement il ne reste pas grand chose du château.
Dany Adam (2 years ago)
Ruine du chateaue et Panorama superbe, accès qu'a pied
jean-luc COFFIGNIEZ (2 years ago)
Belle vue a 180° du château. Allez-y en partant du début des gorges de St Jaume, suivez le long des gorges puis la montée au château. Magnifique balade ombragée jusqu'au village puis montée à découvert jusqu'au ruines du château. Pour bon marcheur mais très agréable rando.
john hodge (2 years ago)
Part of a walking circuit or a visit in its own right. The old Chateau conjours up in your mind history from the old times, explanatory signing is good (all in French) and the walk around the ruins is safe and not too difficuly. The slope is harder coming down than going up. Magnificent views all around. Drinking water available in village, otherwise you need to be self sufficient for your visit. Can be reached with 2 minutes from the village car park, 45 minutes from the chapel Notre Dame.
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