Last week (6th-9th October) the blog writer went to the Aude Department to visit Chateau Carcassonne and its “5 Sons”, the smaller castles of Puilaurens, Queribus, Peyrepertuse, Aquilar and Termes.
These castles all had cathar connections during the Albigensian Crusades (1209-29) and afterwards; indeed the last cathars left Queribus as late as 1256, 12 years after the famous siege of Montsegur.
All the castles were later acquired by the French king and became citadelles royales. They were rebuilt and strengthened by the French and used to defend the French border with the Kingdom of Aragon, and later the Kingdom of Spain.
These later French castles, built on the site of Cathar strongholds, were bigger and military more advanced than the original “Cathar castles”, and it is the later French castles we see today.
In 1659 Louis XIV signed the Treaty of the Pyrenees with the King of Spain, which moved the French-Spanish border south to where it is today.
By this border move south the 5 Sons in particular lost their strategic importance, were no longer properly maintained, and were left to decay.
Some of them maintained a small garrison up to the time of the French revolution, but then it was all over. The 5 Sons deteriorated further to the ruin-like condition, one finds them in today.
Below are photos of Chateau Carcassonne and its 5 Sons. A separate blog on each of them will follow later. There will also be blogs on other buildings and places of interest, which the blog writer visited, a.o. the big abbey and monastery in Lagrasse.