Visit the Chateau Queribus in Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon
Near neighbour to Peyrepertuse, the castle at Queribus started life around 1000 as a 'Spanish' castle, being on the northern frontiers of Aragon / Barcelona territory. In an extremely dramatic location on top of a rocky pinnacle in Languedoc-Roussillon, the castle comprises a donjon (keep) and a chapel, and various other rooms and remaining defensive walls.
The castle was one of the last refuges of the cathars, who arrived here after being driven from Montsegur in 1244, and lived under the command of cathar leader Chabert de Barbaira. It was 11 years later in 1255 that they were forced from Queribus. Even at that point they avoided the army sent to defeat them - the surrender of Chabert was accepted instead - and many escaped quietly across the border to Spain, thus avoiding the terrible penalties exacted on cathars elsewhere.
Later it was to become one of the five defensive castles in the region that defended the border with Spain - a role that continued until the border moved southwards, following the 1659 Treaty of Spain. It is important to note that a significant part of the defences that we now see at Queribus castle date from this later role, and did not exist in this form at the time of the cathars.
Although the castle continued to be occupied as garrison during the following century it no longer played an important role. From the middle of the 18th century, Queribus was more or less abandoned and it started to fall into ruin, until renovation works began 200 years later.
The chateau is now open to the public and a popular tourist attraction in the region.
Map showing location of Chateau Queribus