Peyrepertuse–One of Cathar Castles

 

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

We intended to have a quick look at the ruins of the medieval Cathar ccastle located at the very peak of the rocks in the province of Languedoc in France.

Our route was: the Peyrepertuse castle—the city of Carcassonne—the Cardona castle in Spain. Having investigated the route through Google maps and pictures, we flew along the splendid French roads and then turned onto the mountain road leading towards the Cathar castles. The Cathars owned all these lands many hundreds of years ago. Vineyards, vineyards, vineyards.

Wine fields of Languedoc, France.

Wine fields of Languedoc

From the right, the first Cathar castle, Queribus, looked down at us from the top of the rocks, but today, we have another target.

Cathar castle of Queribus. Languedoc, France.

Queribus, one of the Cathar castles of France

A serpentine mountain road. After the crook up ahead, when it seemed like the right front wheel drove by air above the 500-meter cliff, our main goal appeared—a range of the rocky peaks on the left side of the picture. They are the ruins of Peyrepertuse Castle.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

At first, it looked like a huge castle wall, but closer, it turned out to be natural rock with the work of men inspired by those same rocks.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

The closer you get, the more magnificent it is.

The ruins of the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

We parked and had a snack, glancing at all this power from below. Farther—only on foot.

The pathway to the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

The pathway to the Peyrepertuse castle

Well, how could anyone storm THIS? It’s slightly creepy just to walk here, although we are not being attacked by arrows from the castle walls. Such a picturesque path lies along the hill, where from time to time, you can see an information board with the history of the castle. The path ends at the central and only entrance to the Peyrepertuse castle.

Inside of the ruins of the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

The central gate of the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

The central gate of Peyrepertuse

Narrow loopholes.

Narrow loopholes of the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

Why does my hand reach out to these stones and the ancient cement which crumbles at my touch?

Maybe once upon a time, I also stood here in long, heavy chainmail armor, and shot from a huge long-range bow?

And there was boiling oil nearby, poured by my friends down the walls right onto the people trying to kill us. Maybe this is the place where I died? And these stones still remember the taste of my blood?

Inside of the ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

I am in long, heavy chainmail armor.

By the way, we constructed stony walls not just for defensive purposes, we tried to create something beautiful, with decoration.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Here we slept and ate.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Here we were on duty, watching for anything suspicious within 50 kilometers.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Then we went to our basilica to ask God to keep our lives and bestow victory on us. In vain. We were stormed and colonized by the King of France. Together with the Pope, he killed every Cathar including women and children.

Basilica of the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

This is our cattle yard. We had plenty of food and drink: meat, wine, cheese, and milk. Yes, we could withstand a long siege.

The cattle yard of the castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Oh, does mademoiselle really wish to experience the same sensations as those who attacked us? No. Things turned out well. She used the Master’s stair. The heart of our castle is here on the top—the home of the Master and his family.

Ruins of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

The main stair of the castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

The main stair of the castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France

OK, it is written in the guide «An observation room with a fireplace». It is quite clear how to observe—there is a window with a “soft” stone-made sofa, but a fireplace is yet to be found.

Inside of the ruins of the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

The lower fortress, I named it so, myself. Such a view! We are upstairs in the main building, and the whole world can be viewed from here.

The Cathar castle Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

Maybe, 700 years ago, the Master (or I?) sat like this by the window pondering the Cathar doctrine:

• Why do people have to worship the True Cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified?
• You wouldn’t pray in front of a gibbet where your loved one died, would you?

Or maybe he just enjoyed his power, not suspecting that the fall would be rapid and bloody?

Inside of the ruins of the Peyrepertuse castle. Languedoc, France.

 

We went on our way to Carcassonne. Are Peyrepertuse and Carcassonne similar? Yes. Are they identical? No. Carcassonne is an ancient city-fortress perfectly renovated in the middle of the 19th century. It is like a modern elderly gentleman—new teeth, implanted hair, face lift, and hormone replacement therapy—what a beauty.

The Carcassonne castle. Languedoc, France.

Carcassonne, sity and castle in Languedoc, France.

The Peyrepertuse castle is a biblical elder with a white beard fluttering in the wind. He holds a staff and wears a chiton. He is proud, bellicose, clear, bright, and wise. He does not want to surrender to time, he fights without begging for help, but… time, time, time. And he is surrounded by flowers, flowers, flowers.

The Cathar castle Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

The Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. Languedoc, France.

After visiting Peyrepertuse, and on the way to Carcassonne

 

Other famous Cathar castles of Languedoc

 
Château de Puivert. Of all the Cathar castles, Puivert is one of the best preserved.

Château de Montségur. Only ruins. Probably, this is the best known of all Cathar Castles. It fell after a ten-month siege in 1244, but was not demolished. The castle was destroyed by Allied bombing at the end of the World War II.

Château de Puilaurens. Very well preserved. The castle is one of the “Five Sons of Carcassonne” along with Queribus, Termes, Aguilar, and Peyrepertuse.

Château de Coustaussa. These are picturesque, but dangerous ruins. They are connected with the Rennes-le-Chateau “mystery.” The village of Rennes-le-Chateau is located near the former castle.

Château de Quéribus. Very well preserved. The castle is regarded as the last Cathar stronghold. It fell eleven years after the fall of Montségur.

Château d’Usson. Only ruins. On March 15th, 1244, the day before 225 Cathar Parfaits were burned alive at Montségur, four other Parfaits left the castle for Usson to where the Cathar treasure had been evacuated a few months earlier. What this treasure was, and what happened to it, no-one knows. This mystery has fed a number of fantasies about the elusive treasure supposedly found at Rennes-le-Château in the 19th century.

More information about all 37 Cathar castles of Languedoc, France, is here.

More about France:

Montmajour Abbey and the Necklace of the Decapitated Queen
How Not to Die of Hunger, Examining Benedictine Abbey in Jumieges

28 Responses to “Peyrepertuse–One of Cathar Castles”

  1. Champagne Vacations Says:

    As always a pleasure to read… I think I will now look into some hormone replacement.. it seemed to do that Castle well! Cheers!

    Like

  2. Victor Tribunsky Says:

    Oh, yes 🙂 Carcassone is beautiful. I will wright about it a big post soon. Photos will be wonderfull. One of them you can see here.

    Like

  3. Andrew Petcher Says:

    Magnificent – I’d like to see that. I look forward to your Carcassonne post – I visited there last year!

    Like

  4. lizziejoy10 Says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable article. I almost felt as if I was there with you, an atmospheric place with much history. I love those places. Thank you.

    Like

  5. missmadaboutravel Says:

    Really good article Victor! Very enjoyable and makes me want to go back to the Languedoc right now! Great pics too 😉

    Like

  6. shras789 Says:

    Yes you are lucky, it looks so beautiful there, and I love the shots

    Like

  7. Sartenada Says:

    Great post with awesome photos. I especially love those castle photos and the last one. Why the last one? My habit is to photograph my car in front of some gorgeous place in a post if possible, but it happens generally very seldom.

    Like

  8. Randy Says:

    Nice post Sir! Somehow, the view of that castle reminds me of a place in the 70’s James Bond movie (Roger Moore). 😀
    By the way, the view is just amazing!

    Like

  9. Garden Walk Garden Talk Says:

    This was such a wonderful story how you wove the tale. I felt like I was witness to a life long passed. And your beautiful images supported the story perfectly.

    Like

  10. midihideaways Says:

    Hi Victor, Thank you for the like on my page !
    I love your pictures of Peyrepertuse – such an awesome place!

    Like

  11. Carla Says:

    I live since several years now in Toulouse and I first discoved the story of catharism while visiting Montsegur – a misterious castle pearched on the top of a hill – where hundreads of cathar believers were burned during the Cruisade against what the history calls: the “biggest heresy of the Middle Ages”.
    I am a history lover to begin with and I actually “fell in love” with the history of the Catharism (and the cathar castles that I have visited) and even dedicated it a web page that I would like to share with who ever is interested:
    Catharism Short History
    and
    Cathar Castles
    Hope it makes an interesting reading!

    Carla

    Like

  12. Norma Says:

    Victor, Thank you for sharing your love of travel and history. I’m planning a 17 day holiday for late June/early July to France & Spain which includes 4 days in Carcassonne. In my search for day trips from Carcassonne, I experienced a pleasant stumble upon your blog…so glad I did. Thanks to you, I’m looking forward to exploring the Cathar Castle and breathing in all the beauty that is….woW! Can’t wait! p.s. beautiful photos!

    Like

  13. Anthony Pius Says:

    I visited Carcassonne last week and thought it was great, bought a book which talked about the other castles in the area. I drove up to see the Puilaurens castle. Having no time (and money) just took a pic from the bottom but one day wish to go back and visit all those ruined castles, something very mysterious and unique about them. Your blog is great to read!

    Like

  14. Brent Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Your photography is excellent, and the tale well told. We are off to visit the area in a few weeks time, and found especially useful your link to the catharcastles info website.

    Like


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