Puilaurens, the most accomplished expression of the military architecture of the Middle Ages

On the border of the Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales departments, Puilaurens was for a long time the most southern castle in the kingdom of France.
Located at an altitude of nearly 700 meters, this castle dominates the village of Lapradelle, in the middle of a forest of fir trees.

In 985, the first mention of the castle of Puilaurens appears, which belonged then to the abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa.
In the 11th century, it was under the suzerainty of the Count of Besalù, then of the Viscount of Narbonne. 

The first known lord of Puilaurens, Pierre Catala, was witness to the submission of Guillaume de Peyrepertuse to Simon de Montfort.
Twelve years later, it was Guillaume de Peyrepertuse who commanded the place. Puilaurens was then held by Roger Catala, who, like his predecessor, sheltered many Cathars there.
In 1241, the Cathar deacon of Fenouillèdes, Pierre Paraire, stayed in the place and around 1245-1246 several Perfects were housed there. 

The exact moment when the castle came under royal control is not known, but the annexation seemed to have been completed around 1250.
In 1255, Saint-Louis ordered the seneschal of Carcassonne to fortify the castle.
Defending the border against Aragon, it was occupied in 1259 by the most important garrison of the whole border, under the orders of Odon de Montreuil. 

Until the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), the castle was repeatedly subjected to Spanish incursions.
Poorly defended and little maintained from the end of the 17th century, it was definitively abandoned during the Revolution. 

A legend reports that the White Lady, Philip the Fair's grand-niece, comes during the pale nights, to walk her vaporous veils on the covered way of the dismantled ramparts.


Castle of Puilaurens
11140 Lapradelle-Pulaurens
Tel/fax : 04 68 2065 26




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