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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Address

La ville, Puivert, France
See all sites in Puivert

Details

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

Rating

3.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Steve Collins (5 months 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 (5 months 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 (5 months 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.
Philippe Giabbanelli (7 months ago)
7 euros was an excessive cost. Accepting payment only in cash when we're in the middle of nowhere can be a very inconvenient surprise for tourists who had a long drive. The pitiful website associated with the castle mentions no tickets/prices. Exploring the bottom of the dungeon was through a pitch black staircase that I had to lit using my phone. The potential is there, but the management is doing very little and charging too much.
Daniil “Daniel” Kiselev (8 months ago)
If you are a fan of The Ninth Gate or interested in the history of Cathars, or just appreciate mesmerizing views, this castle is an absolute must. The owner is very welcoming and agreeable to talk to, and the building itself is truly magical. Along with an opportunity for exciting pictures mimicking the scenes from the movie, the castle offers an opportunity to explore its hidden chambers in the intact part - from the musicians' hall to the dungeon. Be careful with the road leading to the entrance: it can be treacherous!
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