Château de Puivert

Puivert, France

The Château de Puivert is a so-called Cathar castle on top of a hill overhanging the village and lake. The construction of the present chateau dates from the 13th century. The first mention is in 1170 when it belonged to the Congost family before the Albigensian Crusade. These lords practised Catharism and were accused as heretics. Then, in November 1210, the castle was subjected for three days to a siege by the army of Thomas Pons de Bruyère, lieutenant of Simon de Montfort. The castle subsequently became the property of the northern barons. All that is left of this older castle is a few sections of wall to the east. A collapse of the natural dam on the lake at the foot of the site caused the destruction of part of the town of Mirepoix, 30 km to the north, in Ariège in 1279. According to legend, this was because a certain Dame Blanche wanted to daydream on the lake shores, which were inaccessible in bad weather. She asked that the water level be lowered and work undertaken to accomplish this goal led to the collapse.

At the start of the 14th century, Thomas de Bruyère (grandson of Pons) and his wife Isabelle de Melun had the new castle built to the east of the old castle. The remains of the old castle are still visible. The coat-of-arms of Isabelle de Melun, who was the daughter of a Grand Chamberlain of France, still exists in the 'new' castle. The building was given a symbolic and picturesque character that can still be seen today.

Today the castle is privately owned. Thanks to its very well preserved keep it has been a location for many films like The Ninth Gate.

The best preserved part of the castle, the square keep measures 15 m by 15 m with a height of 35 m. Originally, it adjoined the manor house. On the west of the tower can be seen pieces of perpendicular masonry, from which it can be deduced that the buildings were joined in this area. The keep comprises

On the fourth floor of the keep is the minstrels' room. It is so called because eight very fine sculptures of musicians with their instruments are represented in the room. Legend has it that the town of Puivert welcomed a great gathering of troubadours in the 12th century. The instruments seen in the room are the bagpipes, flute, tambourin, rebec, lute, gittern, portable organ, psaltery and the bowed hurdy-gurdy.



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La ville, Puivert, France
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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)


3.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Chris Scruton (2 years ago)
Really quite an amazing place. The owner was very engaging and talked with my friends for an hour about the historical context. It was obviously a defensive structure, but also played a role in the culture of the roaming poets and singers known as troubadours. It would still make a fantastic venue for concerts, as inside the walls is enough space for a soccer match. The château existed in the early 12th century when Eleanor of Aquitaine visited, but must be much older. Highly recommend.
Tassilo Kubitz (2 years ago)
The weather during our visit was very changeable. The heavy drizzle in between created a suitable atmosphere, because life was certainly not comfortable back then. Luckily the castle is not only made of old stones - although it already looks very dilapidated - it also offers a kind of museum on four floors in one of the big towers. That way we stayed dry and were able to familiarize ourselves even better with life back then. Knight's hall, music hall and a chapel with many original props. Don't forget your flashlight at your smart phone! Just as the driveway to the parking lot with a 12% gradient and a one-lane road is not for everyone, the castle and the stairs to the floors are guaranteed not to be barrier-free. But the view and the atmosphere were unique and fortunately there weren't that many other tourists there in this weather. The 7€ entrance fee per person is justified, because such a castle cannot survive without support.
Steve Collins (2 years ago)
Great place, well looked after, takes you back in time, the chateau is superb ! And the view is tremendous, well worth the visit !
Teodor Husar (2 years ago)
I wasted 7euros on this ruin, there are 4 chambers you can visit but nothing special to see. Only pleasant aspect was a lady always and a guy playing some type of old instruments in one of the chambers, still not worth the money. And you can't climb on the roof for the best view. Of course you won't get a receipt and you can only pay cash.
Paul Lamot (2 years ago)
The castle itself is nice and well worth a visit. It is small, but with the exception of part of the wall well preserved. The young lady playing a rendition of medieval music was a nice touch. The plastic boards in some windows, the car and horse in the courtyard a bit less. The first being in the way of good pictures and the second rather overly friendly. The young teen boy claiming to be the owner and therefore entitled to go outside the fences a weird touch. I somehow don't think that that would protect him from sliding down a steep hill. In short: nice place, easy access and giving a good impression of what a castle was.
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