Cathar Country attractions
22 sights to be discovered!

Castles, abbeys and medieval citadels, a collection of 22 monuments all united in one common history, that of Cathars and Perfects, of Good Men and Good Women.

These 22 sites are all symbols. They are witnesses, places of living memory. Steeped in the values of resistance, tolerance, conquest or rebellion, they are the 22 fascinating remains of crossed destinies. They stand in an authentic landscape that is the very soul of Cathar Country…

Visite en famille au Château de Peyrepertuse ©Vincent Photographie

Castles

Perched high on their rocky spurs, they tower over the vast and troubled contours that stretch from the Corbières slopes to the Pyrenean balcony.

Visite du Château de Puilaurens ©Vincent Photographie
Visite du Château de Saissac ©Vincent Photographie

Some mistakenly call them the “Cathar Castles”, while others prefer the suggestive name of “Citadelles du Vertige” (*Michel Roquebert). Like rooted sentinels reaching for the heavens, the castles of Cathar Country continue to defy the horizon and the passage of time…

Carcassonne and its mountain sentinels, castles in the running for UNESCO

Following the Albi Crusade of the 13th century, the kings of France, Philippe Auguste and, later, Louis IX, seized and occupied one by one the aeries of Corbières, Minervois and the Montagne Noire. Thus, 8 castles were fortified and entirely reworked along the lines of the military architecture of northern France: the Citadel of Carcassonne and, around it, seven others, its five smaller versions - Peyrepertuse, Quéribus, Aguilar, Termes and Puilaurens - plus those of Montségur and Lastours. Eight centuries later, this history lives on and is echoed in the request by Carcassonne and the vertiginous citadels to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. To achieve this, they need your help…

Entrée du Château comtal à Carcassonne ©Vincent Photographie

Abbeys and medieval towns

Nestling down in the lush green valleys of Cathar Country, medieval abbeys and their charming villages are dotted across this rolling landscape.

Explore the heart of these small medieval towns where narrow streets lead you to a washhouse, a belltower, or a once lively market hall…

Découverte de l'Abbaye d'Alet Les Bains ©Vincent Photographie
Visite du Musée du Quercorb à Puivert ©Vincent Photographie

Museums

At the Musée du Querborb in Puivert or the Musée du Catharisme in Mazamet… history can be felt, relived even.

Troubadour music can be heard and the Cathar centre still comes to life with the sound of ancient instruments. Here, history is made up of stories told by the land itself!

Narbonne, abbaye de fontfroide, vue panoramique, massif

Experience

Heritage experiences in Cathar Country

Find out more

Chapiteau de l'Abbaye de Saint Papoul-©Vincent Photographie