Château de Roquefixade

Roquefixade, France

The Château de Roquefixade is a ruined castle built on a cliff overlooking the village of Roquefixade. There are records of a castle on the site going back to 1180, though the present ruins are more modern. While marketed in the tourist industry as one of the so-called Cathar castles, the ruins are later than this. Despite this, the site did provide a place of refuge for the Cathars at the time of the Albigensian Crusade.

A natural cleft in the cliff face has been filled in by an arch supported by ramparts. The remains of the castle walls cling to the rock, originally circling an impressive keep built at the highest point of the site.

At the end of the 13th century, Roquefixade became a stronghold at the end of a line of royal fortresses built along the Corbières hills, to keep watch on the territory of the Count of Foix. The keep was remodelled in the 14th century, and other alterations were made in the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle survived until 1632 when the French king Louis XIII rested in the area on his way to Toulouse for the execution of the Henri II, Duke of Montmorency who had risen against Richelieu. Louis took the opportunity to order the destruction of Roquefixade, it now serving no purpose and being costly to maintain.

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Address

D9A, Roquefixade, France
See all sites in Roquefixade

Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Manel JOAQUIN CAUDET (14 months ago)
Great views
Rob Filios (2 years ago)
What a beautiful hike. I went in a bike ride and then home the rest of the way. A hidden gem that I'm sure will soon be crowded.
Emiel de Vries (2 years ago)
Nice looking castle, bit of a walk to it. Main section of the castle is closed off. But the view is great, and the castle looks really good.
Ben Sietzema (2 years ago)
Nice location. View is nice . Road to castle is nice. Entry to the inner castle not allowed.
Christophe Carbonel (2 years ago)
The very good point of this castle is the brilliant hiking trails around the village and the castle. You park below the village where a map displays the different courses. You select one course and all you have to do is follow the well marked signs along the way. No map needed and a good selection of courses for all levels!
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Château de Falaise

Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.

The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.

In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.