Situated on the border between the Aude and the Ariège, the castle of Usson shows well the unity of the past of this territory which is called Cathar Country.
Located in the canton of Quérigut, often referred to as "Ariège Quebec", the fortress emerges from the high Pyrenean forests.
About thirty kilometres south-west of the castle of Puilaurens, in the extension of the "citadels of vertigo", it is perched on a spur at 920 metres above the Aude and Bruyante rivers.
Mentioned for the first time at the beginning of the 11th century, Usson is the castle of the former lords of So and Alion.
During the crusade against the Albigensians, Bernard d'Alion, important vassal of the Count of Foix and Lord of Usson, pledged allegiance to Simon de Montfort and then to his son Amaury.
But Usson continues to serve as a refuge for the Cathar Parfaits.
Bernard d'Alion even sent men-at-arms to Montségur during the siege of 1244.
According to the registers of the inquisition, six Perfects escaped the pyre of Montségur and took temporary refuge in Usson.
In 1258, Bernard d'Alion was arrested and then burned in Perpignan for heresy.
Thereafter, the castle was a powerful bulwark against the Spanish invasions of modern times.
It fell definitively into disuse at the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.
As for its neighbors, Quéribus or Peyrepertuse, its strategic position was destroyed by the remoteness of the border of the kingdom of France. The monument then became the residence of the Marquis d'Usson until the Revolution when it was dismantled and sold in different lots. It served as a quarry throughout the 19th century.
Today, consolidated and saved from ruin, this remarkable site is home to the Maison du Patrimoine.
Tél. : 04 68 20 43 92
Tél. : Tourist Office: 04 68 20 41 37
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