You'll love to conquer them
IN CATHAR COUNTRY
Cathar castles are the special feature ofOccitania, its trade mark.
They are concentrated in Aude and Ariège. Montségur, Foix, Roquefixade, Lastours as well as Quéribus, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens, Termes and Aguilar (the "5 sons of Carcassonne"): these hilltop castles reign over breathtaking landscapes.
Experience an encounter with the Cathars who challenged the Pope in the 13th century. The castles where they found refuge during the crusade against the Cathars are places with real soul and giving rise to powerful emotions.
In Occitania you can explore a remarkable heritage left behind by the mighty feudal lords. They include Gaston Phébus, the Counts of Toulouse, the Counts of Armagnac…
Occitania was independent from the kingdom of France until the 13th century and played a key role during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453): many castles were built to face neighbouring Aquitaine, which was then ruled by the English.
In our castles and châteaux, you can also savour all the elegance of the Renaissance and the pomp of the 18th century.
See the Pyrenees joining up with the Mediterranean in the distance, look down on the Corbières mountains and the beautiful village of Cucugnan below: a truly exceptional view awaits you at Quéribus castle (Aude).
Several finely built castles, such as Merville, Caumont, Laréole, Mauriac will take you back in time, from the Middle Ages to the age of the Enlightenment.
Some of the castles are located on grandiose sites, such as the Penne and Bruniquel castles in the Aveyron Gorges.
Along the shores of the Mediterranean are other princely castles, such as the ducal castle ("the Duchy") of Uzès, the royal castle of Collioure and the Saint-Elme fort looking down on the Côte Vermeille.
30 minutes north of Toulouse, the château de Merville has the biggestboxwood maze in Europe (6 km). Here you can lose yourself and enjoy trails with puzzles and games!
FROM GASCONY TO QUERCY
In the Lot region (formerly the province of Quercy), your thirst for history will also be quenched with the exquisite castles of Castelnau-Bretenoux and Montal in the Dordogne valley, and the castles of Larroque-Toirac and Cénevières in the Lot valley, for example.
FROM ROUERGUE TO THE CÉVENNES
Aveyron (formerly the earldom of Rouergue) is well supplied with castles that seem to come straight out of a children's book about knights. They include the castles of Najac, Brousse, Calmont d’Olt, Valon,...
As a child, the painter Toulouse-Lautrec spent his summers at the Château du Bosc, between Albi and Rodez. You can sense his presence through the drawings, graffiti or personal belongings he left here.
- By car: Occitania has a large number of motorways (A9, A20, A61, A75, etc.).
- By plane: the region has several airports, including the international airports of Toulouse, Montpellier and Lourdes.
- By train: the region is accessible from all the major cities of France and the European capitals.