This roadtrip will make you discover the destination Ariège Pyrenees, marked by the proud and dazzling "citadels of vertigo". Discovering the catharisme, of the tragic history of men, of a past specific to Languedoc.
⌛ 1 day
(I.e. Driving time: 2 hours
🚘 134km (go)
(I.e. Departure Arrival : Foix / Peyrepertuse
- Departure from Foix
STOP N ° 1: Foix and its CASTLE
First stop on your route: the medieval city of Foix!
Impregnable city, Foix will remain intact during the crusade against the Albigensians, when we knew very well the penchant for Catharism of the Counts of Foix… Why that? Thanks to a privileged geographical location, which makes the county of Foix a real "lock", which marks the entrance to deep valleys and difficult to cross. The suburbs of Foix were devastated, but the castle was never reached thanks to the defensive arsenal of the upper Ariège with Calamès, Quié, Miglos, Montreal. These valleys were a real cut-throat for the attackers!
This is how Foix today offers an impressive castle, set on a rocky outcrop, with a view of the Prat d'Albis or Pech terraces leave you speechless, as much as the visit of the museum space can surprise travelers.
- Roquefixade and Montségur
- Route: Foix ➡️ Roquefixade ➡️ Montségur
STOP N ° 1: Roquefixade, perched on its cliff facing Montségur
- Foix ➡️ Roquefixade
🚘 18 km (I.e. 20 min
Between Foix and Montségur, two mastodons of Cathar history, make a stop at the castle of Roquefixade !
Since the eleventh century, it faces that of Montségur. Raimon de Pereille, is also the count of the two, in the thirteenth century. The view from the castle embraces the Massifs of Arize, the peak of the 3 lords and Saint Barthélémy. It was a place of refuge for the fellows, but was unfortunately taken by Simon de Montfort in 1212.
STOP N ° 2: Montségur, symbol of the Cathar martyrdom
- Roquefixade ➡️ Montsegur
🚘 15km (I.e. 17 min
Then go to meet the Montségur castle ! He is obviously known for his appalling stake in March 1244 where hundreds of Cathars were burned by the Church and Kingdom of France for heresy, refusing to renounce their faith. It was one of the last Cathar strongholds taken by Simon de Montfort after months of siege and an attempted capture on Christmas Eve 1243. What about this so famous fortress, perched on its pog at an altitude of 1207m, if not? did she seem unreachable?
Today, Fabrice, guide of the castle, brings to life the history of the Cathars living in the castle from the time of their count Raimon de Pereille until the time of its reconstruction by the Lévis family.
Lean down to look at the castle below: you can see the village of Montségur, built with the stones of the first castle of Montségur, destroyed in the XNUMXth century. Besides, take a look at the Montségur museum, it will perfectly complement Fabrice's guided tour.
Mmmh good bread from the past
Take the time to stop by the bakery "Le Pain De Montsegur" ! The old-fashioned bread by Cyril Delmas is just a delight! Cooked over a wood fire, made from organic flour made by the millstone, it maintains the taste and quality of old bread.
Attention last step in Ariège with returning to our neighbors Aude!
If you want to continue exploring the Cathar castles in Ariège Pyrenees, you can also go to:
Stop n ° 1: Queribus, eagle's nest on its spur
- Montsegur ➡️ Quéribus
🚘 89 km (I.e. 1 hours
Nicknamed the "dice on a finger", Quéribus will be the last bastion to fall into the hands of the kingdom of France in 1255, after having made it possible to be a refuge for the chased Cathars, and to have proudly defended the Aude of Simon de Monfort. Perched on a rocky outcrop at an altitude of 728m above the village of Cucugnan, he watches over the territories stretching from Corbières to Roussillon, offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees!
It is said that he is one of the 5 sons of Carcassonne.
STOP N ° 2: Peyrepertuse, the celestial Carcassonne
- Quéribus ➡️ Peyrepertuse
🚘 11 km (I.e. 22 min
Finally, the last step of your Cathar journey, stop at the Peyrepertuse castle.
At the top of a limestone cliff at an altitude of nearly 800m, Peyrepertuse enjoys an extraordinary panoramic view of the Corbières massif. It is nicknamed "the celestial Carcassonne"! Why ?
Well, because it was the largest of all the castles of the “five sons of Carcassonne” and was as vast as the city itself!
The castle and its leader, Guillaume de Peryrepertuse, was a Cathar refuge, Guillaume himself being a good man. Peyrepertuse, like the others, did not want to submit and did not fall into the hands of the kingdom of France until after the siege of Carcassonne in 1240.
On your way you can also stop in many other Cathar castles, some of which are part of the "21" or "citadels of vertigo".
End of the roadtrip!