Visit Montsegur (Midi-Pyrenees, France)
Montsegur and its castle are located in the Ariege department, in the southern Midi-Pyrenees region south-east of Foix. The village itself is small, and usually visited for the castle.
High on a rocky hilltop behind the village, the castle at Montsegur is an impressive sight.
In fact three castles have existed at the same location. The first predated the cathars and was destroyed before they arrived. The second was an important cathar stronghold in the 13th century until it fell after a long siege - the village that was inside the castle was destroyed at the same time.
At the end of the siege, in March 1244, more than 200 cathars who refused to renounce their faith were burned to death below the castle.
The third castle at Montsegur, which is largely what you see today and reached by a track from the village, was constructed / renovated during the latter part of the 13th century. Although in ruins there are substantial parts of the walls that remain.
Apart from the interest of the castle itself, there are splendid views across the surrounding region from the top of the walls.
The 'big day' in the year of the chateau at Montsegur is the summer solstice. The rising sun on that day passes through a series of arches, and has led to it being a major attraction, especially for enthusiasts of the cathars and their religion. It is unlikely to be coincidence because a similar effect can be seen at Queribus castle.
The castle is also sometimes associated with the story of the Holy Grail, although it should be remembered that the current castle contains essentially no vestiges of the two earlier castles on the same location. This possible association also led the castle to be of some interest to the Nazis during the Second World war.
In Montsegur village there is also a small museum with various items from the history of the castle.
Note: photo is copyright
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Montségur, Lavelanet, Foix, Ariege, Midi-Pyrenees, 9300 || GPS: latitude 42.8756, longitude 1.8325
Map of Montsegur & places nearby
Highlights close by
Grotte de Lombrives 19km
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Montsegur, France
- Fontaine Intermittente de Fontestorbes - site of natural beauty (9km)
- Camon - most beautiful village (20km)
- Parc aux Bambous - remarkable garden (31km)
- Pyrenees Ariegeoises - regional natural parc (36km)
- Vallée de Vicdessos - site of natural beauty (36km)
- Lac du Bouillouses - site of natural beauty (37km)
- Limoux - recommended detour (37km)
- Pyrenees Catalanes - regional natural parc (45km)
The French version of this page is at Montsegur (Francais)