©ADT09_0006926_MD|O. RODBAG

Roquefixade Castle

Cathar fortress and fortress of France

Thefortress of Roquefixade stands atop a monumental cliff. Freely accessible after a 30-minute walk, the remains of this place forte offer a dazzling panorama as well as a fascinating dive into the Cathar epic.

An eventful history

The first mention of the château de Roquefixade appears in texts in the 11th century. A settlement was then built up at the foot of the citadel forming a fortified complex, also known as castrum.

In the Middle Ages, this stronghold was held by the lords of Pailhès, who embraced the Cathar faith. Duringthe crusade against the Albigensians, they were in every battle alongside the Counts of Toulouse and Foix, whose vassals they were. Guy de Montfort and his troops are said to have punished their boldness by setting fire to the village in 1212.

After this terrible episode, Roquefixade was bought back by the King of France, Philippe le Hardi, who decided to rebuild a royal fortress there. The main building was erected on an arch spanning a large fault that gave rise to the name “roca fissada“, meaning cracked rock. The château underwent several alterations over the following centuries, but was finally destroyed by order of Louis XIII, at the expense of the people of Roquefixade.


A little archaeology

La mairie de Roquefixade exhibits in its reception room archeological finds recovered in the village.

This space accessible on request will allow the curious or history buffs to learn more about the landmark periods that shaped Roquefixade.

Attacking the castle

From the heart of the village of Roquefixade, the ascent to the castle follows a signposted path. Equipped with shoes suitable for walking, you’ll reach the remains of the fortress after a 30-minute climb that presents no great difficulties. Once there, and once you’ve had your fill of the incredible panorama, you can, if you wish, continue to gain height and enjoy even more spectacular views over the Calm plateau!

12 hiking trails have been laid out around Roquefixade, enabling you to actively discover the rich natural and cultural heritage of this corner of our territory. You’ll find all the information you need on our dedicated hiking page, or in the guide published by the Roquefixade heritage association (available from our tourist offices).

Shepherd's huts?

At the bend of a path criss-crossing the Pech de Roquefixade, you’re sure to come across one of the 30 mysterious dry-stone huts that bear witness to the past. These constructions, similar to shepherds’ shelters, known as orris, had a different function here.

In fact, the majority of them are positioned on promontories overlooking vast expanses, bordering paths that have disappeared from memory, and turn their backs on the meadows!

They seem more likely to have been erected to take part in the surveillance of the area or at least the control of its strategic accesses.