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Chateau de Peyrepertuse

tourist information guide

Address: Duilhac sous Peyrepertuse, Duilhac sous Peyrepertuse, 11350
Tel: + 33 (0)6 71 58 63 36
Opening Times: All year except Jan | Admission Charge

Chateau de Peyrepertuse is perhaps one of the most eye-catching of all the Cathar castles.  It is set atop a steep limestone mountain and on a fine day it is a landmark for miles around.

Work began on Chateau de Peyrepertuse in the 10th-century but it wasn't until 1240 that the chateau became well known for its association with the Cathar Crusade.  Chateau de Peyrepertuse housed many a Cathar sympathiser including Guilhem de Peyrepertuse who was twice excommunicated by the Pope for his unswerving Cathar support. 

In 1240, however, Guilhem de Peyrepertuse took part in a failed attempt to liberate Carcassonne from the French.  The defeated men mainly fled south with French troops hot on their heals.  Chateau de Peyrepertuse lay in the path of the French troops who decided to mount an attack.  Guilhem surrendered Chateau de Peyrepertuse without struggle fearing a winter without supplies and military aide.

Once in French hands, Chateau de Peyrepertuse was rebuilt to play a pivotal role in the protection of the French border from Spanish troops.  The entrance leads to the Chateau Vieux, rebuilt by St Louis.  It's here that you can marvel at the narrow width (just a few yards) of the castle.  The keep is quadrilateral in shape and still flanked by a large cistern and ruined chapel.  Beyond the keep is the lower courtyard where most of the barracks and stores were situated.

From the lower courtyard, you'll see the West Esplanade where there is a polygonal building used to store arms.  Here, you'll also see a watch tower that was constructed to provide a view of neighbouring Chateau de Queribus.  Above this, Louis added another citadel (Chateau St-Georges).  An impressive flight of steps, known as the St Louis staircase, leads up to the castle (not advisable in strong winds).

Chateau St-Georges towers above the rest of the castle at an impressive 796m and offers views of the Verdouble Valley, Chateau de Queribus and the coastline.

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