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Peyrepertuse Castle

Gallery of 15 photos for Peyrepertuse Castle

Peyrepertuse Castle (Château de Peyrepertuse) is a large Medieval fortress complex on a high rocky peak in the Pyrenees 50 km west of Perpignan. The fortress combines a lower 11th-century castle and a later, upper castle, joined by walls and a perilous stairway. Peyrepertuse is one of the Cathar Castles but was never attacked during the Albigensian Crusade.

Peyrepertuse Castle on the cliffs above Peyrepertuse Castle occupies the top of a high limestone ridge with commanding view in all directions, including sight of Quéribus Castle, 6.5 (crow-flying) km to the southeast. Peyrepertuse is also visible from afar, but the huge stone fortress blends into the hilltop so well it appears just natural rock, and so becomes invisible.

Peyrepertuse is very ancient, with archeological evidence of Roman occupation in the 1st century BC. There's an 806 historical reference to a castle here, and in the 9th to 12th centuries it was owned by a Count of Catalonia and an Earl of Barcelona. Although Peyrepertuse Castle was never attacked during the Albigensian Crusade, Guillaume de Peyrepertuse ceded the castle to the Crown in 1240.

France, Aragon, Spain Frontier Fortresses. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the castles of Quéribus, Peyrepertuse Puilaurens and Aguilar were situated along the border between the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Aragon (later Spain), and all were built up and maintained as royal fortresses.

Upper Castle. Plan drawing of entire Peyrepertuse Castle In 1242 Saint-Louis reinforced the existing (lower) castle and added a second castle higher on the ridge, just to the west. Access to the higher part of the fortress is accessible (even today) by steep stairways past defensive walls and towers.

Visiting Peyrepertuse

Steps built into the trail up The Peyrepertuse parking area is 3.5 km up a fairly small but decent road northwest of Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse village. A reception area, with toilets and the ticket booth are beside the parking. There is a humorous sign here indicating an access ramp for wheelchairs and baby carriages.

Steps built into the trail up Humorous because, after you purchase your ticket (non-refundable) to visit the castle, you're confronted by a 350 m long, mountainside trail going up through the woods over stone, with areas of steep rustic steps and boulders. It's not a bad trail for reasonably fit people, but definitely not for wheelchairs or baby carriages.

The visitors entry is below the southeast end of the lower castle. The foot trail circles the eastern end and goes up along the north side of the fortress to the entry, about 15-20 minutes.

Inside the visitable walled enclosure of Entering through the north wall, you have a large interior area to explore, with ruins of walls and towers. The old donjon is at the west end of the lower enclosure, and inclused Sainte-Marie church ruins and the old logis.

Continuing out to the west, you can climb up to the ruins of the upper castle, with its ruined towers and walls, and an even wider vista view of the countryhside.

Practical. (2019)
Cost: 6 euros; kids 6-12, 4 euros.
Open: Jan-Mar, Oct-Dec, 10h to 17h or 18h
open: Apr-Aug, 9h to 19h or 20h

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