March 03 2017
The medieval city of Carcassonne is located on a highpoint overlooking the Aude river. Generally known for its fortified medieval town, occupation goes back to the 6th century B.C. when settlers built Gallic dwelling houses and later an active urban centre during the Roman period.
During the 3rd century A.D., a curtain wall was built, of which vestiges remain today.
It is on the western side of this primitive fortification that the Trencavel viscounts built the 12th century castle, which was extended and surrounded by a curtain wall a century later.
After the Crusade against the Albigensians, the viscounty was definitively attached to the Kingdom of France in 1226. In the 13th century, the outer rampart was built and the inner rampart was modernised, making the city an impregnable fortress.
From that time on until 1659, when the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed making the Roussillon region an integral part of France, Carcassonne was the key stone of the defensive system on the border between France and Aragon.
Saved from demolition thanks to the efforts of Carcassonne's scholars and Prosper Mérimée, the city underwent extensive renovations between 1844 and 1911, carried out by thearchitect, Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc, at the request of the French state.
Property of the Ministry of Culture, the castle and the ramparts of the city of Carcassonne are opened to the public by the Centre for National Monuments.