Cathar castles are the special feature of Occitania, its trade mark.
They are concentrated in Aude and Ariège. Montségur, Foix, Roquefixade, Lastours as well as Quéribus, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens, Termes and Aguilar (the "5 sons of Carcassonne"): these hilltop castles reign over breathtaking landscapes.
Experience an encounter with the Cathars who challenged the Pope in the 13th century. The castles where they found refuge during the crusade against the Cathars are places with real soul and giving rise to powerful emotions.
In Occitania you can explore a remarkable heritage left behind by the mighty feudal lords. They include Gaston Phébus, the Counts of Toulouse, the Counts of Armagnac…
Occitania was independent from the kingdom of France until the 13th century and played a key role during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453): many castles were built to face neighbouring Aquitaine, which was then ruled by the English.
In our castles and châteaux, you can also savour all the elegance of the Renaissance and the pomp of the 18th century.
Well worth a visit
See the Pyrenees joining up with the Mediterranean in the distance, look down on the Corbières mountains and the beautiful village of Cucugnan below: a truly exceptional view awaits you at Quéribus castle (Aude).
Several finely built castles, such as Merville, Caumont, Laréole, Mauriac will take you back in time, from the Middle Ages to the age of the Enlightenment.
Some of the castles are located on grandiose sites, such as the Penne and Bruniquel castles in the Aveyron Gorges.
The Flaugergues and La Mogère castles are among the "Languedoc follies" adorning Montpellier.
Along the shores of the Mediterranean are other princely castles, such as the ducal castle ("the Duchy") of Uzès, the royal castle of Collioure and the Saint-Elme fort looking down on the Côte Vermeille.
In the Lot region (formerly the province of Quercy), your thirst for history will also be quenched with the exquisite castles of Castelnau-Bretenoux and Montal in the Dordogne valley, and the castles of Larroque-Toirac and Cénevières in the Lot valley, for example.
Aveyron (formerly the earldom of Rouergue) is well supplied with castles that seem to come straight out of a children's book about knights. They include the castles of Najac, Brousse, Calmont d’Olt, Valon,...
In the untamed surroundings of Aubrac and Cévennes, you can add the castles of La Baume, du Castanet and du Champ to your list of favourites.
They are called the "vertigo citadels", and you will see why when you watch this video (© Freeway Prod). The Cathar Country castles (Aude) are among the major sites of Occitania and are in the running to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Photos of the travellers #TourismeOccitanie #VoyageOccitanie
Our suggestions Sélection de quelques uns des plus beaux châteaux de l'Occitanie.