High in the Pyrenees Audoises, 25 minutes from Quillan, in the heart of wild mountains, sits the fortress of Puilaurens castle, perched on a pedestal 697 metres high. Fortified under the orders of St Louis, the castle fell into the hands of the King of France in c. 1250. Traces of a primitive 11th century castle are only visible at the base of the square keep, which is built on the highest point of the site. After the Crusade, Puilaurens was the southern-most fortress in France and served as a royal garrison. The castle is one of the most complete defensive castles in France and gives us perhaps the best image of these towering buildings, which are as impressive from a defence point of view as they are beautiful in their architecture
At the time of the Albigensian Crusade, the castle belonged to the Saissac family, the protectors of the Cathars. Through snippets of stories related by contemporary witnesses, it is claimed that Puilaurens castle was a place of refuge for several "Bons Hommes" (“Good Men” as the Cathars were known). After the Crusade, Puilaurens became one of the outposts of the Kingdom of France. Having undergone various modifications throughout history, this Cathar castle is a typical example of southern French royal fortresses. In the 15th century, Puilaurens castle beat off two attacks by Spanish troops wishing to invade. After the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 it became obsolete and was no longer needed. It was left to abandon by the time of the Revolution.
For more information...
· Discover in a original and pleasant way the Castle of Puilaurens by taking the Tourist Train of the Cathar Country and the Fenouillèdes. Ideal in family!!
· If you are feeling energetic, walk the Sentier Cathare and experience the castle from another perspective!
· Since July, the castle is now illuminated. Discover it at night !!