Castles in Occitanie

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With such a wealth of astonishing places to discover, the fortresses in Occitanie remain a hugely popular draw. Among the top sites that people usually visit are Foix Castle, Cité de Carcassonne and -. There are other fabulous fortresses in Occitanie including -, - and -, which is one of the best known incredible castles in Occitanie. To begin your journey exploring the incredible castles in Occitanie you can view our editor’s selection of top picks below as well as checking out a host of other locations which you definitely won’t want to miss.

What are the best Castles in Occitanie?

1. Foix Castle

The Château de Foix is a castle which dominates the town of Foix in the French département of Ariège. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built In the style of a 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. 


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2. Cité de Carcassonne

Founded during the Gallo-Roman period (1st century BC – 5th century AD), the Cité de Carcassonne is a spectacular medieval citadel located in the French city of Carcassonne. The town has about 2,500 years of history and has been occupied in different ages by Romans, Visigoths, Saracens, and Crusaders. At the beginning of its history it was a Gaulish settlement then in the 3rd century AD the Romans decided to transform it into a fortified town. The Roman defences were in place by 333 AD, when the town is described as a castellum.


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3. Termes Castle

The Château de Termes is a ruined castle near the village of Termes in the Aude département of France. It is one of the so-called Cathar castles and one of the "sons of Carcassonne" (five castles defending the border with Aragon and later, Spain). Held by the Cathar heretic Ramon (Raymond) de Termes, the castle fell to Simon de Montfort after a siege lasting four months in late 1210, the hardest siege of the first period of the Albigensian Crusade.


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4. Castle of Collioure

The Château Royal de Collioure is a massive French royal castle in the town of Collioure, a few kilometers north of the Spanish border in the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. The first mention is about a fortified site in Collioure under siege in 673, by Wamba, king of the Visigoths who lay siege to the “Castellum Caucolibéri” to subdue a rebellion.


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5. Salses Fort

The Fort de Salses (also called Forteresse de Salses) is a Catalan fortress in the commune of Salses-le-Château, in the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. Built by the Catalans at the end of the 15th century, the fortress guarded the former frontier between Spain and France. Its layout and architecture, innovative for the time, present a rare example of the transition between medieval castle and the fortresses of the modern period.

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6. Saint-André Castle

The Fort Saint-André is a medieval fortress in the commune of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon in the Gard département of France. It dates from the first half of the 14th century. The fortress of Saint-André, with the curtain wall that surrounded an abbey built at the end of the 10th century, was built in several stages during the first half of the 14th century, likely soon after 1309 when Pope Clement V moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon, just across the Rhone.


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7. Saissac Castle

Once the residence of the powerful vassal family of Trencavel, the Château de Saissac is a ruined castle, one of the so-called Cathar castles, in the southernmost tip of the commune of Saissac in the Aude département in the north-west of Carcassonne, France. Based on historical texts, it can be dated to at least 960.


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8. Puivert Castle

The 12th century Château de Puivert is a so-called Cathar castle situated in the commune of Puivert, in the Aude département of France. The castle's functions were military – lookout and defence, unlike many buildings of the era which had religious goals.The construction of the first castle dates from the 12th century. At the start of the 14th century, Thomas de Bruyère had the new castle built to the east of the old castle and the best preserved element is the square keep. The remains of the old castle are still visible.


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9. Cénevières Castle

The Château de Cénevières is a castle in the commune of Cénevières in the Lot département of France. The castle dates from the 13th century and has been significantly altered over the years, notably in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. According to tradition, the castle belonged to Waïffe or Waifer, Duke of Aquitaine, and played a role in his war against Pepin the Short. The castle stands on a rock and appears as a collection of irregular buildings, flanked by towers and terraces. 

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10. Vaillac Castle

The Château de Vaillac is a castle in the former commune of Vaillac, now part of Cœur-de-Causse, in the Lot département of France. The castle was built during the 13th century and was recorded during the Hundred Years' War. The present building contains elements from the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

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Full list of Castles in Occitanie

However, any list of castles in Occitanie wouldn’t be complete without including hidden gems such as - and - which are an absolute must if you have a little extra time in your itinerary. Our advice? Don’t ignore them, because the full list of fortresses in Occitanie can be among the very best to visit! That's why we've gone beyond the top ten and brought you a selection of these hidden gems below.

Aguilar Castle

The Château d'Aguilar is a 12th-century castle, one of the so-called Cathar castles, the design of which witnesses the practical military thinking of the 12th century. It is located in the commune of Tuchan in the Aude département of France.

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Arques Castle

The Château d'Arques is a ruined 14th-century castle in the commune of Arques in the Aude département of France. It is one of the so-called Cathar castles. The castle consists of an enceinte and a high square keep with four turrets. It was built after Albigensian Crusade of the 13th century on lands given to Pierre de Voisins, one of Simon de Montfort's lieutenants.

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Arzens Castle

The Château d'Arzens is a castle in the commune of Arzens in the Aude département of France. The castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries.

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Durfort Castle

The Château de Durfort is a ruined (possibly) 11th century castle in the commune of Vignevieille in the Aude département of France.

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Gaussan Castle

The Château de Gaussan is a castle, much altered in the 19th century, in the commune of Bizanet in the Aude département of France.

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Lastours Castle

The Châteaux de Lastours are four so-called Cathar castles in the French commune of Lastours in the département of l'Aude. The four castles are on a rocky spur above the village of Lastours. Cabaret, Surdespine and La Tour Régine stand in line, while Quertinheux is built on a separate pinnacle close by.

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Montaillou Castle

The Château de Montaillou is a ruined castle in the French village of Montaillou, in the Ariège département. It was built by the lords of Alion around the end of the 12th century.

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Montaner Castle

Built on the site of a castle built on a motte in the 11th century by the Viscounts of Montaner, the 14th century Château de Montaner is a castle in the commune of Montaner in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of southern France.

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Montségur Castle

The Château de Montségur is a former fortress near Montségur, a commune in the Ariège department in southern France. Its ruins are the site of a razed stronghold of the Cathars. The present fortress on the site, though described as one of the ‘Cathar castles,’ is actually of a later period. It has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1862.

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Padern Castle

The Château de Padern is a ruined castle in the commune of Padern in the Aude département of France. It is one of the so-called Cathar castles. The fortification is mentioned for the first time in 1026.

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Puilaurens Castle

The 13th century Château de Puilaurens is one of the so-called Cathar castles in the commune of Lapradelle-Puilaurens in the Aude département. The castle is located above the Boulzane Valley and the villages of Lapradelle and Puilaurens. There is a path from Axat to the castle.

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Roquefixade Castle

The Château de Roquefixade is a ruined castle built on a cliff overlooking the village of Roquefixade, in the French département of Ariège. There are records of a castle on the site going back to 1180, though the present ruins are more modern.

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d'Usson Castle

The Château d'Usson is one of the so-called Cathar castles in what is now southwestern France. It is located in the commune of Rouze, in the Ariège département. The castle dates from the 11th century (perhaps earlier) and during the Cathar period marked the eastern boundary of the territories of the Counts of Foix.

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Our database of fortresses in Occitanie is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. So, if you know of other incredible castles in Occitanie, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by contacting us today.