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Chateau de Peyreperteuse

Peyrepeteuse Castle

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Chateau de Peyreperteuse Chateau de Peyreperteuse Formigučres

The Chateau de Peyrepeteuse is a large ruined Cathar fortress perched on the crest of the Corbieres above the village of Duilhac, on the old frontier between France and Spain. Peyrepetuse, meaning ‘pierced rock’ is an impressive castle to visit; both architecturally stimulating and of historical importance it does however require a good head for heights as it is set on an 800 metre high mountainous crag. From its elevated position the Mediterranean is clearly visible when the weather permits.

Built in the 11th century by the kings of Aragon, Peyrepeteuse castle later served as a haven and stronghold for Cathar deacons during the Albigensian Crusades led by Simon de Montfort. It was however never subjected to attack; surrendering in 1217 but duly reclaimed it finally fell to French forces under the command of Jean de Beaumont without battle after a siege lasting just three days in November of 1240.

The lower castle became a royal fortress and was fortified in 1242 as one of ‘the five sons of Carcassonne’, a series of castles that provided frontier defences against the marauding Spanish troops from the South.

At the end of the 13th century further construction was completed during the rule of Louis IX leading to a second, higher castle on the site called San Jordi situated as a spur to the main castle joined by a stair case cut into the rock. Protected by fortifications to the north and the south the dual castles constituted a surface area comparable to that of the keep at Carcassonne.

In 1659 the French Spanish border was redrawn as part of the Treaty of the Pyrenees removing the strategic importance of Peyrepetuse and it was later abandoned during the French Revolution.

In 1908 the site was listed as a historic monument and is now open to the public most of the year. The track from Duilhac takes about an hour to walk or alternatively there is a car-park at the foot of the castle. Here you will find the ticket-office and a 20 minute walk on a winding path up to the castle.

Fact Box

Points of interest : Peyrepeteuse castle
Dramatic hilltop Cathar Castle

Opening dates : Feb to April – 10am to 5pm
May, June & Sept – 10am to 7pm
July & Aug – 9am to 8pm
Oct & Dec - 10am to 6pm

Guides available : Audio guides are available

Languages : English, French, Spanish

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Address :Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse
Telephone :+33 (0)671 586336