Château de Pieusse

Pieusse, France

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 castle was built in about 1140-1145, under the reign of Louis VII by the Counts of Foix. In 1225, it hosted the Cathar synod, a hundred Perfects presided over by Guilhabert de Castres, bishop of Toulouse. During a meeting at the castle, they decided to create the bishopric of Razes and Benoît de Termes was ordained bishop of this new diocese. In 1229, Bernard Roger, son of the Count of Foix, ceded his fiefdom to the king, Louis IX who joined it to the bishopric of Narbonne. From 1764 to 1790, the castle belonged to Arthur Richard Dillon, last president of the États généraux of Languedoc and Archbishop of Narbonne.

Only a few buildings are visible. Several parts have been reused in other buildings. The north wall is still visible. On the first floor, two elegant twin arched windows with sculptured capitals can be seen. Inside, well-preserved carved stone seats allowed the ladies to see in the distance the arrival of their lords, for this window dominated the whole Aude River valley and the 'Razes' countryside. Another twin window, more simple, is found on the second floor. The massive elongated keep, in front, is standing only to the first floor and includes a beautiful arched vault.

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