Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M - Montsegur


Montségur is steeped in such a sorrowful history that one can almost feel it as you pass the cross memorial and climb the winding path to its broken walls. It holds a special place in my heart. My husband, who was raised in Toulouse France, first brought me here and recounted its tragic history. Now I've visited numerous times, taken our children and friends there, and each time I learn something new from the experience. The castle fort just previous to the one we can now see was impregnable until treachery breached its walls and brought about the deaths of hundreds of innocents, who were burnt at the stake. Of course this happened a very long time ago and even though the castle we see isn't the one razed by the powers that were at the time, the feeling of unjustness embodies it, as does the history of those who were persecuted, the Cathars. However, the side dwellings ruins plainly seen on the far side at the base of the walls are original to the Cathars. Montségur is as shrouded in legend as it is in the mists that often obscure it. Set in the Pyrénées, if you are a history buff or a photographer, this place is a must see. It is a quiet area and off the beaten path. The village below the old castle on its rock-strewn knoll is quaint and a perfect place for a picnic. The hike up to the old fortified castle is steep so wear good footwear. If the day is clear, and sometimes even if it isn't, you will find the view is stunning and well worth the climb.

The castle ruins of Montségur from the road as we come up on it

The Cathar memorial and our daughter Marjorie

Okay, onward and upward, literally

The side gate entrance to the fortified castle
Marjorie showing the scale in the back side gate

The west end interior

The east end with stairs

One side with the ruined original staircase. The holes mark where the beams went to create a second floor

This shows how the fortifications were built right into the rock of the mountain

Me in the "Chapel" area

Exterior walls with my husband Geoffrey
Exterior walls showing a partial restoration of a wall
Geoffrey and one of the views
Our son Tristan and another view. He scared me getting so close to the edge...

Marjorie and yet another view

The lands slopes sharply away from the ruins

It was a gray day but the views were still stunning

Another view from the ruins
The reason for the memorial isn't forgotten even now

Montségur, the village from on high
A "tunnel" in the village. The village is as old, if not older than the fortress ruins

The old watering trough in the village

Flora everywhere in the village

The Croix Occitan forming a "clock" Languedoc style, as a sundial on the exterior wall of a house in the village

Picnicking in a field by the village with castle ruins in the distance

Another online site to visit for more information is HERE


  1. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos and the history. I have always been facinated with stone buildingsm Your family is lovely too.

  2. Totally AWESOME!!! I'd love to visit and explore that Castle!!

  3. You're making me want to plan a trip! Despite the sorrowful history, it looks to be a beautiful place.
    Visiting from A to Z ~
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

  4. Fantastic scenery and historical information. I've never heard of this tragic tale that took place in Montsegur. It's definitely worth visiting, and I'm glad you shared your experience.

  5. Wow. Awesome photos. I love history and I'm glad to be the newest follower to your blog.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

  6. Hi Lisa,

    Montségur, the magic of the landscape intertwined with the resonance of the sadness. Really nice to see you out and about with your family on such an adventure. Of course, our sons share the same name :)

    Thank you for this and the haunting singing in the video tied in well.


  7. Such beautiful pictures. I never even knew this place existed. Now you've interested me in learning more of it's history. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Just popped over from the A to Z Challenge.

  8. There are so many instances in history where people were driven and slaughtered for no good reason. It's good to keep them in memory so we stand against the powers that would repeat such acts. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, eh?

    True Heroes from A to Z

  9. That old castle is very cool looking and, I'm sure, could be the inspiration for many a story on it's own.


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