Carcassonne’s Castle


You may already have heard about Carcassonne and even if you haven’t I will tell you about this place several times on this blog.

Let’s start today with a few words and pictures on the castle.


It was built on the grounds and foundations of much older constructions (dating back to the 1st Century) in the beginning of the 12h Century (circa 1120) by Bernard Ato IV Trencavel, Viscount of Carcassonne, Albi, Béziers, Agde and Nîmes.
It will stay the possession of the Trencavel family for about a Century until taken by Simon de Montfort by order of the King during the Albigensian Crusade.



The reconstructed hoarding.


Inner courtyard






Inside the hoarding.





One thing that may seem odd with this castle is that it is quite heavily fortified despite the fact that it is built within the walls of an already heavily fortified city.
The thing is that once Simon de Montfort had become Viscount of Carcassonne, not only the city had to keep on being protected, but he also had to protect himself from the local population of the area among whom he was not very popular, having committed quite a few massacres during the Crusade.

Do you know the expression “Kill them all, God will recognize his own”?
Well, he’s the one who came up with it. That gives you an idea of the mood in the area.

The castle and the city remained under the king’s control after the end of the Crusade and during the following Century, until it was slowly abandoned, the area having become peaceful.


Inside the main building one can find a small museum today (mostly of stones from the Middle Ages)



See how one can seat on both sides of the window. Great spot to read (or do anything else that requires daylight in those dark buildings)










What are this window and this fireplace doing so high?


Well, actually, the courtyard seen in the last three pictures was not exactly a courtyard but had closed rooms, except that those were mostly made of wood.







If you want to visit Carcassonne’s castle, know that you can do it year-round. It costs €8.5 for adults. It’s free for under 26 who are EU citizens and it’s €5 for the other ones. You can visit with or without a guide, with or without an audio-guide, and the entrance ticket will also allow you to visit a good chunk of the city walls. For more info, you can check the official site.



About David Billa

David was born and raised in the French South West. After a few years in the US and a few more in Paris, he finally settled down in Japan. He blogs here about his various experiences and travels, with an emphasis on his home country, France.

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5 thoughts on “Carcassonne’s Castle

  • Pomme C

    Carcassonne: Not Just a Board Game. 😉

    I think those guys dressed up in armour from the University of Genève need to go there and try scaling the walls.

    • David

      Is there a board game named Carcassonne?

      The video with the armor plates aims at dispelling a lot of misconceptions about those armors.
      I guess they should have added that nobody ever climbed those walls, armor or no armor. If they could be climbed, it would have been a waste of time, money, energy and whatnot to build them.

      • Pomme C

        Oh yes, the game is quite popular. You can read about it on Wikipedia if you like. It doesn’t have anything to do with the actual city (or the castle) except that it has sort of a medieval esthetic to it. It involves laying down tiles with terrain features that have to be connected in a particular way, and getting points for building a population. I’ve only played it once, so I don’t remember much more than that.

        Good point about the walls. The armour guys would have had much less luck with them than they did with the rolls and jumping jacks. (Well, that’s why I would have liked to see it. ; ) )