Hanging from a limestone ridge which is 800 metres in altitude at its highest point, Peyrepertuse castle is one of the most remarkable fortifed castles in the south of France. It is situated 45 minutes from Quillan. Not far from the remarkable Gorges de Galamus with its hermitage, the royal fortress of Peyrepertuse, whose name means “pierced stone”, looks over a spectacular promontory on the south of the Corbières, the Fenouillèdes plain and the former Franco-Aragon border.
A fortified village on the site is mentioned for the first time in 1050. At the beginning of the 12th century, it was under the Barcelona suzerainty before, from 1162 onwards, belonging to the Kings of Aragon. This left Peyrepertuse outside the Crusade until Pierre II of Aragon entered the conflict. In 1217, Guilhem de Peyrepertuse paid hommage to Simon de Montfort before rebelling against the Church and the King of France between 1224 and 1229. During November 1240, the castle was given to Jean de Belmont, the King of France’s chamberlain. From 1242, huge work was undertaken, which would make Peyrepertuse an indispensable asset in the defence of France against Aragon.
Still today it takes more than an hour to climb to the top of the ruins by foot. The ruins resemble a small version of Carcassonne with walls, towers, an interior castle, houses…
The curtain wall follows perfectly the triangular platform which makes up the base of the fortress, 300 metres long and 50 metres wide at its widest point.
More information at: www.chateau-peyrepertuse.com
• Don’t miss the medieval festival which takes place every August in the castle.