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You must have heard about the Cathar Castles. Who are the Cathars? They are simple people who believe in everything said in the Sermon of the Mount. They opposed several practices of the church like the materialism. They also don’t believe that Jesus is divine. It is God who controls the heavens and devil is ruling the world.
These things got them into trouble especially with the fully established church with a lot of followers and power. Just like those people who opposed the norms, they became outcasts and were put to death. However before they broke their neck and faced persecution, they built fine castles that kept them isolated for years. Most of them are found in Languedoc, France. The best ones are found along the south of Carcassonne. The easiest one to get into is Chateau d’Arques. This is one of the few castles that are built upon a flat land.
Driving will take you to the place and you can find a small museum where you can access it for free. The construction of the castle started as early as the 12th century. Additionally, you can get a good view of the countryside. A castle on the hill is Chateau de Puivert.
It has four levels that you can explore. The most interesting part with this structure is the stone carvings on the walls. There is a village within the area where you can shop for local souvenirs. You can also find other Cathar Castles that are best but could be challenging to visit.
If you are planning to see only one Cathar Castle, then go for the Chateau de Peyrepertuse a Duilhac. The whole area is surrounded with limestone outcrops where you can walk or drive into; apart from some changes in the elevation.
If you are already in the area, you might want to check out the nearby castles of Chateau de Queribus and Chateau de Puilaurens. The drive between the Chateaus is nice and you can find several restaurants along the way. Majority of Cathar Castles are advertised to be romantic. Most of them are built after the crusade and to protect Aragon from invaders.
Most of the castles are left to decays and rots. There are only a few that are considered as genuine Cathar Castles. You can also find that some castles are built by French near the authentic ones. Be careful as you can find some castles with no connections to Cathar.
You can also find structures that link to the period of Cathars but were not necessarily erected during the period. It is ideal to join tours so that you can have an idea of the history of the castles that you visit. Definitely this is another adventure to try if you are visiting France.