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More Cathar Ghosts

October 19, 2014

The sparkling day was perfect for hunting down a couple more Cathar chateaux. About an hour away, Chateau d’Aguilar was one of the “five sons of Carcassonne” protecting the French border with Aragon from the late 13th to the mid-16th century. During the Albigensian crusade, however, its owner, Olivier de Termes, provided aid and comfort to Cathars fleeing from Simon de Montfort and his gang.

You can see the chateau from a pretty great distance, standing alone outside the petite village of Tuchan, at the foot of the magnificent Corbières mountains. The road, more like a paved track, winds through vineyards, and as you approach the road becomes steeper and narrower, if that’s even possible. My under-powered little Citroën struggled to climb, making progress only in first gear and finally wheezing to a stop in the parking lot below the tiny visitor center.


A steep, rocky path leads to the ruin, and approaching the entrance you’re rewarded with spectacular views of the Haut Corbières, vineyards carpeting the unforgiving slopes.


Through the hole

On this quiet Thursday, I was the only visitor, and in the peaceful silence, broken only by bird calls, I thought about those who, centuries ago, sought asylum here. Despite atrocities that took place throughout the nearly 50-year crusade, apparently nothing terribly bloody happened here. The seigneur (lord) of Termes lost the chateau to the king of France, but it was restored to him after the conflict had ended, and it served for another three centuries as an important defense on the border.

Donjon      Walls

From → Solo travel

  1. I meant to ask what you were driving around in. Send a picture … they make so many interesting models. My favorite was the little 2CV which I believe they made from 1948-1980 or so.

    • My model isn’t that interesting, but it’s serviceable. It’s a C3. You’re thinking of the Deux Cheveux, which I think is very cute, and iconic. I’ve taken a few photos; I’ll post them.

  2. What an experience to be there on your own and to contemplate the history that had taken place so long ago. Your writing really expresses your wonder and awe. Also, I love reading the historical background since I am completely ignorant of it.

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