Cathar Country Tours of Cathar Castles in the Languedoc, France.

Cathar Country Tours
Historical Tours of Cathar Castles in deep rural France
Led by James McDonald

Sites Visited


Tours of Cathar Castles in the Languedoc, France


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Private Tours
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What to bring
Recommended Reading
Locations & Sites Visited
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Tour Locations
Le Bezu
Les Casses
St Hilaire


None of the sites visited are difficult for anyone of average fitness. Sites on hill tops typically require an uphill walk on a rough path, but they are not particularly steep.


Tour Sites

  • Aguilar — Cathar Château. Click for more about Aguilar
  • Albi — picturesque town which gave its name to the Albigensian Crusade, Cathedral, palace, viestiges of Cité and site of medieval castles. Click for more about Albi
  • Alet-les-Bains — Natural spring, Medieval Cité, Ruined Abbey / Cathedral. Click for more about Alet-les-Bains
  • Arques — — Crusader Château & museum. Click for more about Arques
  • Avignonet — Site of a Château belonging to the Count of Toulouse where a team of inquisitors were murdered in 1242. Click for more about Avignonet
  • Béziers — City and Cathedral. Site of the famous massacre of 1209. Click for more about Béziers
  • Bram — Circulade & site of an atrocity during the War against the Cathars. Click for more about Bram
  • Cabaret (Lastours) — — 3 Cathar Châteaux + medieval village. Click for more about  Cabaret
  • Carcassonne — — Cathar Château (Château Comtal), Cité, Basilica, museum, Canal du Midi. Click for more about Carcassonne
  • Cordes-sur-Ciel — Bastide founded by Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, as a stronghold and refuge for dispossessed Cathars. Click for more about Cordes-sur-Ciel
  • Foix — Cathar Château, Capital of the medieval county of Foix. Click for more about Foix
  • Fontfroide — Cistercian Abbey. Click for more about Fontfroide 
  • Hautpoul— Cathar stronghold  besieged by Simon de Montfort. Vzstiges of two castles. Click for more about Hautpoul
  • Lagrasse — Benedictine Abbey. Click for more about Lagrasse
  • Lastours (Cabaret) — — 3 Cathar Châteaux + medieval village. Click for more about Lastours
  • Lavaur — Cathedral, site of atrocity during the Cathar Wars. Click for more about Lavaur
  • Le Bezu — Cathar Château.  
  • Les Casses — Vestiges of Cathar town and site of a mass burning of Cathar Perfects. Click for more about Les Casses
  • Mazamet — Museum of Catharism. Click for more about Mazamet
  • Megalithic Sites — — throughout the region
  • Minerve — Cathar City and Château. Click for more about Minerve
  • Montaillou — the famous Cathar village where everyone was arrested by the Bishop of Pamiers. Click for more about Montaillou
  • Montsegur — Cathar Château, medieval village & museum. Click for more about Montségur
  • Muret — Site of an open battle where King Peter
    II of Aragon was killed. Click for more about Muret
  • Peyrepertuse — Cathar Château. Click for more about Peyrepertuse
  • Prouille — The first Dominican convent, founded by St Dominic. Click for more about Prouille
  • Puilaurens — Cathar Château. Click for more about Puilaurens
  • Puivert — Cathar Château & museum. Click for more about Puivert
  • Queribus — Cathar Château. Click for more about Queribus
  • Rennes-le-Château — Roman town, now a Hilltop Village with a notable church & museum. Click for more about Rennes-le-Château
  • St Hilaire — Benedictine Abbey. Click for more about St Hilaire  
  • Termes — Cathar Château + medieval village. Click for more about Termes
  • Toulouse — Capital of the county of Toulouse,Museums, Cathedral, important Churches. Click for more about Toulouse
  • Villerouge Termenes — Château of the Archbishop of Narbonne where the last known Cathar parfait was burned alive. Click for more about Villerouge-Termenès


Very easy walk on the flat, OK for wheelchair users

Very easy walk on the flat, but with steps

Easy walk, c15 mins access

Moderate walk, rough paths. c30 mins hilly access

Moderate walk, rough paths. c45 mins hilly access

The walks are not particularly steep or dangerous, but stones can be slippery in wet weather. French standards of maintenance and the provision of safety rails might not be what you are used to at home. We recommend taking hiking sticks for sites rated and above.



Tours Location Details

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One Day Tour Start Points

Aguilar: 11350 Tuchan, Start of the path from the car park to the Château - 42.891440, 2.747799

Albi: Main entrance to the Cathedral - under the Baldaquin of Saint Cecile, centre of Albi - 43.928279, 2.142524

Alet-les-Bains: Gateway to the Eveché Hotel, 13 Rue Nicolas Pavillon, 11580 Alet-les-Bains - 42.996958, 2.254876

Arques: Small bridge on the track from the Car Park below the Donjon d'Arques to the donjon -- 42.951803, 2.366270

Avignonet: By the "crusader" tower at 1, Grand Rue, 31290 Avignonet-Lauragais - 43.366047, 1.787964

Béziers: - Square at the West end of the Cathedral of Saint Nazaire, Béziers - 43.341546, 3.209656

Bram: Outside the front entrance to the central church (Église Saints-Julien-et-Basilisse) 3-5 Rue de l'Église, 11150 Bram - 43.243788, 2.113323

Carcassonne: By the statue of Dame Carcas outside the Narbonne Gate to the Cité Médiévale, 11000 Carcassonne - 43.206652, 2.365955

Cordes-sur-Ciel: Gateway called the Gate Clock, 4-24 Grand-Rue de la Barbacane, 81170 Cordes-sur-Ciel - 44.062666, 1.955220

Fanjeaux & Prouille: bottom end of the Rue des Fargues where it meets the Place du Treil, 11270 Fanjeaux - 43.185387, 2.035011

Foix - entry to the ramp up to the Château of the Counts of Foix, 09000 Foix - 42.966432, 1.605084

Fontfroide: on the bridge (over the Ruisseau du Roc des Naux) just outside the Cistercian Abbey of Fontfroide - 43.129094, 2.898303

Lagrasse: on the high point of the footbridge over the Orbieu in Lagrasse - 43.092251, 2.618401

Lastours (Cabaret): Viewing platform, the Belvédère, 11600 Lastours - 43.333179, 2.374602

Lavaur: Main entrance to the Cathédrale Saint-Alain, Lavaur 81500 - 43.699249, 1.821527

Le Bezu: La Plaça, Saint-Just-et-le-Bézu, Rue Lô Sucalhet, 11500 Saint-Just-et-le-Bézu - 42.879268, 2.267369

Les Casses: By the ruined windmill, 71 La Métairie Basse, 11320 Les Cassés - 43.421648, 1.874158

Mazamet: Maison des Mémoires de Mazamet, Rue des Casernes, 81200 Mazamet - 43.490312, 2.373791

Minerve: Bridge over La Cesse river (D147E6), 34210 Minerve - 43.354116, 2.745520

Montaillou: Château Ruins, Montaillou 09110 - 42.786719, 1.893886

Montségur: car park, information board at the start of the path to the Château, Montségur - 42.874356, 1.827494

Peyrepertuse: Lookout point after the Château carpark, rue du Château, 11350 Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse - 42.870216, 2.559444

Puilaurens: Château Car Park, 11140 Lapradelle-Puilaurens - 42.803851, 2.295752

Queribus: path up to the Château de Quéribus, Château carpark, 11350 Cucugnan - 42.838999, 2.621362

Puivert: path up to the Château de Puivert, Château carpark, 11230 Puivert - 42.920489, 2.054413

Rennes-le-Château: Château d'eau (water tower), Car Park, 11190 Rennes-le-Château - 42.927355, 2.262550

St Hilaire: Car Park near the Abbey of St Hilaire, 11250, Saint-Hilaire - 43.093685, 2.307658

Termes: Ticket Office, 4 Cami dal Castel leadng to the Château de Termes, 11330 Termes - 43.000059, 2.561637

Toulouse: Main (south-west) entrance, Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse, Place Saint-Sernin, 31000 Toulouse - 43.608104, 1.441354

Villerouge-Termenès: Castle Courtyard, Château de Villerouge-Termenès, 11330 Villerouge-Termenès - 43.006947, 2.626685


















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