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Montsegur Castle

Chateau de Montsegur

 
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Perched perilously at the top of a limestone crag at 1208m is Montségur castle. Probably the most significant monument to Catharism for it was here that in 1244 more than 200 Cathar priests met their death sounding the end of the Cathar religion.

The ruins at the site are not actually the work of the Cathars as it was largely rebuilt in the second half of the 13th century but the place remains haunted by a painful past. The Cathars believed in a natural, humble lifestyle and criticized the Catholic Church relentlessly. It was here, in the Montségur castle ruins that hundreds of Cathars held off the Crusaders for months. The living conditions, already difficult would have been incredibly tough but the siege lasted a whole 10 months before they finally succumbed.

When the Cathars were finally conquered, they were given the choice to renounce their religion or burn. 225 chose to be burnt at the stake in a great inferno on the morning of 16th March 1244 rather than renounce their faith.

Eight centuries later and the Cathar religious sect still fuels speculation and rumour most recently in the best selling novel by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.

The village’s archaeological museum contains numerous artefacts excavated from the site including tools, fittings, ornaments, weapons and even dice that give an idea as to what life was like at the castle. Some also believe that Cathar treasure is hidden on the site though excavations have never revealed any.

Fact Box

Points of interest : Cathar Castle ruins

Museum of artefacts excavated from the site

Opening dates : Open every day except Christmas day
February 10:30am – 4pm (closed in bad weather conditions)
March 10am – 5pm
April 9:30am – 6pmh
May & June 9am – 7:30pm
July & August 9am – 7:30pm
September 9:30am – 6pm
October 9:30

Guides available : May, June and September
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at 2pm and 3pm

July and August
Every day at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 4.30pm

Tours possible all year round for large groups
For bookings please contact the guide

Languages : French

Prices : Adults - 4€
Children (8 to 13yrs old) – 2.10€
Children (under 8yrs old) - Free

Groups
School groups - 2€
Adults – 3.20€

Museum Hours Differ to the Castle : February 2pm - 4:30pm
March - 2pm - 5pm
April 2pm - 6pm
May 10:30am - 12pm & 2pm - 7pm
June to August 10am - 12:30pm & 2pm - 7:30pm
September 10:30am - 12pm & 2pm - 6pm
October 2pm - 6pm
November 2pm - 5pm
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Access : The museum has wheelchair access to the first floor

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Contact Montsegur Castle:

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Address :09300 Montsegur
Telephone :+33 (0)561 030303
Fax :+33 (0)561 030303