- History of Chateau of Montségur
- Our advice for a good visit of the castle of Montségur
- What to do during your visit to the castle of Montségur?
- - The visit of the castle
- - The visit of the museum
- How much does a ticket to the Château de Montségur cost?
- How can I book a ticket for the Château de Montségur online?
- Are there guided tours of the castle of Montségur?
- Are there combined visits with other monuments of Montségur?
- Opening hours
- How to reach the castle of Montségur?
- Where to park near the castle of Montségur?
- Where to stay near the castle of Montségur?
Do you feel like discovering a Cathar castle? Come and visit the castle of Montségur in Ariège!
Are you planning to spend holidays in Occitania? You think you will discover the Cathar country and its innumerable castles of character? Then visiting the castle of Montségur is a must. Located in Ariège, the fortress will seduce history lovers as well as lovers of legends or nature lovers. Nestled on a promontory overlooking a vast expanse of meadows and forests, the castle of Montségur is also an opportunity to discover the natural heritage of the Ariege.
How to get there? What to see? What are the rates and visiting hours? Find out everything you need to know so that your visit to the Château de Montségur site leaves you with an unforgettable memory!
Also read :
The 21 must-do things to do in Occitania
14 Cathar castles to visit in Occitania
History of Chateau of Montségur
The castle of Montségur is an Occitan building, located in Ariège, south-east of Foix, in the commune of Montségur. Built in the 13th century by the Cathars, it was partially rebuilt about forty years later, after the surrender of those whom the Catholic Church considered heretics. It was in fact to remove the threat posed by this dissident "religion" that a crusade against the Albigensians was launched. More than two hundred surrendered and died at the stake in 1244. The castle will remain occupied then by the royal guard until the seventeenth century. The castle of Montségur is classified as a historical monument in 1862.
In order to be able to watch the enemy and see him coming from afar, the castle of Montségur stands, like all medieval fortresses, overlooking the village. From the top of a rocky promontory located at an altitude of 1,207 metres, the view is breathtaking over the Pays d'Olmes. Visiting the castle of Montségur is also an opportunity to discover several myths and legends that surround the building. It would indeed shelter the treasure of the Cathar church. One of the rooms would be nothing less than the Holy Grail!
Our advice for a good visit of the castle of Montségur
In order to best prepare your visit and not find yourself disappointed, here is some advice :
- The access to the castle is done by walking, by a small path. It is therefore preferable to have good walking shoes , sun cream, a hat and water in summer. In winter, you should bring equipment to protect you from the cold and wind.
- Do not miss the visit of the castle for the summer solstice. The light follows an incredible path and sweeps the castle from side to side.
- There are no toilets on the site, nor any water point.
- Dogs are accepted, but must be kept on a leash.
- All seasons are interesting to visit the castle. The view is superb from the building, it remains so all year round! It is nevertheless certain that a winter visit at an altitude of more than 1,200 metres requires the correct equipment. However, this period is an opportunity to admire the castle under the snow, for the luckiest ones!
What to do during your visit to the castle of Montségur?
The visit of the castle
The fortress is in ruins. It is better to know it before visiting the castle of Montségur, otherwise you may be disappointed! However, once you've had a glimpse of its dilapidated walls and jagged keep, you'll be carried away by the charm of the site. You will indeed be able to see beautiful period walls in some places, especially near the main courtyard. Remains of Cathar dwellings are also visible outside the building.
The path that leads you from the car park to the castle is already an opportunity to immerse yourself in a special atmosphere. Between aridity and coniferous forest, you can already imagine yourself living at the time when the Cathars inhabited the village and the castle. Once you arrive on the "pog", the rocky outcrop that houses the fortress, the view is breathtaking. When you reach this point, the name of the castle "Ségur", from the Latin segurus, "safe", takes on its full meaning.
Who could have dared to attack a fortress that seemed to be closer to heaven than to earth? When you arrive at the south gate, after half an hour's walk, you can finally reach the main courtyard of the castle. The ramparts reveal evidence of the presence of buildings. The bolt holes are indeed a sign that floors had been installed there. The keep was accessible from the courtyard or from the ramparts. The lower room was used to store food. If you are lucky enough to visit the castle during the summer solstice, don't miss the incredible spectacle of the sun passing through one of the fortress's loopholes, which then passes through the building before escaping through other loopholes.
The visit of the museum
Visiting the castle of Montségur also gives you access to the museum, located in the premises of the town hall of Montségur. You will have less than two kilometers to go there from the parking lot of the castle. Count between 20 and 60 minutes of visit, depending on your interests. You will see mainly period objects, related to the history of the castle.
The museum is open from 1 February to 31 December, every day during the castle's opening hours. The museum is closed in January and December 25th.
How much does a ticket to the Château de Montségur cost?
The price includes the entrance to the castle, the visit of the museum and a possible guided tour:
- Adult : 6,50€.
- Students and job seekers: 5€.
- Child from 8 to 15 years old : 3,50€.
- Visiting the castle of Montségur is free for children under 8 years old.
How do I book a ticket for the Château de Montségur online?
- To visit the castle of Montségur, you will have to buy your tickets directly on the spot. If you wish to book a visit, you must then call.
- In addition, tour operators offer excursion packages to various cities and places of interest. In addition, a guide and transportation are also included. Prices vary between 50€ and 500€ depending on the options.
Are there guided tours of the castle of Montségur?
Guided tours are organized to visit the castle of Montségur, without any additional charge. Count 1 hour of visit. Don't forget to plan the 30min access path to the castle and the time to go down.
Guided tours take place at the following times:
- May and June: at 2pm and 3pm, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
- July and August: every day at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 4.30pm.
- September: Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 3 pm.
Other times are possible on reservation, every day, for groups of more than 20 people:
- February, March, November and December: from 2pm to 5pm.
- April and October: from 14h to 18h.
- May, June, July, August and September: from 11am to 1pm and from 2pm to 7pm.
In case of bad weather, guided tours are then organized in the museum premises located in the town hall building.
Are there combined visits with other monuments in Montségur?
Haven't seen enough? Don't panic, there are combined visits. These will make you discover for example other sites such as the town of Foix or Mirepoix.
These visits departing from Carcassonne or Toulouse last the whole day for prices between 50€ and 500€.
Visiting the castle of Montségur is possible from February 1st to December 31st (except December 25th).
- February, November and December: every day from 11am to 4pm.
- March and October: every day from 10am to 5pm.
- April, May, June, September: every day from 10 am to 6 pm.
- July and August: every day from 9am to 7pm.
The castle is closed on December 25th and in January. It can also close at any time in case of bad winter weather.
Please be sure to call before your visit to make sure that the schedule has not been changed.
How to reach the castle of Montségur?
You will only be able to reach the Château de Montségur by car or coach. Drive to Lavelanet, a town east of Foix. Drive in the direction of Foix. When you arrive in Chaubet, take the D9, in the direction of Montségur. You will pass through the village of Montferrier.
Before arriving at the village of Montségur, you will find the parking lot of the castle. Fourteen kilometres separate Lavelanet from the car park. To visit the castle of Montségur, you will still have to take a path and walk 30min.
Where to park near the castle of Montségur?
A car park is available free of charge for people wishing to visit the castle of Montségur. It is located at the foot of the castle. For coaches, it is recommended to arrive in the village by Lavelanet. Buses can park on reserved spaces.
Pleasenote: the car park is located about 30 minutes walk from the entrance of the castle. You will have to take a hiking trail. Remember to be equipped. Count 20min for the way back.
Where to stay near the castle of Montségur?
There are many accommodation possibilities in the village of Montségur. Between gites, hotels and Airbnb, you should have no trouble finding a place to stay, and often within walking distance of the museum.
If you prefer to take some distance from the village life and go into the countryside, there are also charming little gites with or without a swimming pool on the outskirts of Montségur. For those who prefer the city, Foix is only a 40min drive from the castle.
Ready to visit the castle of Montségur?