In ancient times, the site of Saint-Béat, at the foot of the Pyrenees, was known and called by the Romans "Passus Lupi" (the passage of the wolves), because the tightening of this French part of the Val d'Aran would have then only allowed thin wolves to pass without getting their paws wet in the Garonne.
This ancient stronghold commanded the Garonne valley. Its importance made it nicknamed the "key to France".
The marble of Saint-Béat was the material used for the basins and several statues in the park of Versailles.
The curiosity is the castle clinging to the mountain.
The castle and the chapel...
The castle of Saint-Béat is one of the rare citadels of the Pyrenees mountain range, from the feudal period that is not degraded. It dates from the 12th century, built by the Lords of Saint-Béat and was enlarged by Henry IV. It has an imposing keep which is five meters by five and a chapel built in the middle of the 19th century following a plague epidemic.
Indeed, during the plague epidemic of 1855, a chapel was erected with a Virgin to protect the inhabitants.
Robert Pujol, who is at the origin of its restoration specifies: "The tourists have, most of the time, the idea of a very vast castle. But in the Middle Ages, they were very small because they hung on eagle's nests. »
In its history, the castle did not have to repel invasions, even though it was the scene of regular battles.
During the plague epidemic of 1855, a chapel was erected with a Virgin to protect the inhabitants.
The status of royal city, conferred many privileges to Saint-Béat. Two markets were held every month at the foot of the castle. No taxes were levied. Saint-Béat must be considered as the Andorra of this medieval period. If its castle fell into oblivion, it has been brought back to life over the last few years and has been restored. The site is all the more to be seen as it offers a superb view of the village and the valley.
Castle of Saint-Béat
260 Rue de l'Anglade,
Phone : 05 61 79 40 05
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator