the best period
Spring, Summer, and Autumn
Some places have no need of long-winded descriptions: Montségur is one of them. You can't fail to be moved by this experience at the heart of welcoming and enchanting Ariège, that's for sure. Montségur is simply a unique, spectacular, unforgettable place. Set off to learn all about the Cathars on a historical day out!
Recommandé par Magda
If we have one little piece of advice for getting your day off to the best possible start... it's to take the road via Montferrier (20 minutes from Foix towards Andorra) in order to access the "Pog" of Montségur! (You'll find out what a pog is later in the adventure, don't worry!)
After a few bends in the road after Montferrier, you catch sight of the castle... And what a view it is! You really wonder how people managed to build a fortress at this altitude, it's amazing!
Continuing along the road, after 2 more bends, you will finally reach the gates to this Ariège paradise! A free car park awaits you at the foot of the pog! There is a charge for admission to the site, which includes access to the castle, the guided tour and the museum in the village of Montségur further downhill. Time to begin the ascent!
You will find the castle ticket office after just 5 minutes' walk. Be sure to wear the right footwear, as the many modern-day Cathars passing through have made the stones on the path smooth, so it is slightly slippery to walk up. After this warm-up hike lasting just 30 minutes, you'll finally be able to enjoy the view, don't worry!
You are on both the GR107 and GR367, known as the Chemins des Bonshommes ("Good Men's Paths") and Sentier Cathare ("Cathar Trail") respectively! These two hiking itineraries take you on epic voyages across the Pyrenees. They are odes to discovery, of France and Spain's wonderful landscapes, but also of the rich cultural heritage that still remains in our lands as evidence of history.
The reward is finally before your very eyes... this Cathar castle, the most famous in the Pyrenees, home of the "good men", FINALLY opens its gates to you. And what a magnificent place, what an extraordinary place!!! This is simply a magical site, with an unobstructed 360° view. You can breathe in the peace and gaze at the distant horizon!
Each time they go up, visitors are overwhelmed by intense emotion due to the history of this magical place, a must-see during your travels in "Cathar" country.
Did you know ?
The word "pog" is a free interpretation of the Occitan word "puèg/puòg" by Napoléon Peyrat, used to refer to the sugar loaf-shaped mountain of Montségur. This version is now commonly accepted, but only when referring to Montségur.
If you are climbing up, it's best to arrive in time for the guided tour by Fabrice! You probably won't be unaffected by this experience... in a good way! No-one pops up to Montségur on a whim, just for a photo or to see the view... You soon have to pause and assess your chance of setting foot in this incredible place... and of meeting up with this tour (by chance or otherwise). The story is a stirring one.
The tour guide captivates visitors as he tells them all about the life of the Cathar Bonshommes ("Good Men"), or "parfaits" ("perfects"). It's like travelling back in time! You won't forget the way this man speaks, which may bring a tear to your eye; you also won't forget his words, expressed with such passion and conviction!
Did you know ?
Derived from Christianity, the Cathar religion was based on two main principles: a Good God and an Evil God. Everything intangible was the word of the Good God, and everything material was the work of the Devil. In the early 13th century, to bring these so-called "heretics" back to the true path, the Catholic Church had no other solution than to resort to force: this was the Albigensian Crusade. You soon understand what these Bonshommes went through when you listen carefully to the guide...
There is no more enchanting place in Ariège to enjoy a sunset, with its vibrant, shimmering colours... Walk around the citadel and admire the various landscapes before you, from the wide plains of the Ariège Valley and the Toulouse Basin, to the diverse and varied reliefs of our beautiful Ariège mountains... Sitting under a rug, listening to the silence all around and relishing the present moment... what more could you wish for?
You can go up to Montségur Castle any time of the year, that's a fact. Each season has its own advantage: in winter you can enjoy the snowy peaks, but you have to wrap up warm to go up the pog, and be careful not to slip. In spring, you can admire nature regaining its strength. In summer, there are long days, and extraordinary sunrises and sunsets; lastly, autumn brings reddish hues as it slowly approaches.