©ADT09_0006926_MD|O. RODBAG

Roquefixade Castle

Cathar fortress and fortress of France

The fortress of Roquefixade stands atop a monumental cliff. Freely accessible after a 30-minute walk, the remains of this stronghold offer dazzling panoramic views and a fascinating insight into the Cathar epic.

An eventful history

The first mention of Roquefixade castle appears in texts from the 11th century. A settlement grew up at the foot of the citadel, forming a fortified complex known as a castrum.

In the Middle Ages, this stronghold was held by the lords of Pailhès, who embraced the Cathar faith. During the Albigensian Crusade, they fought alongside the Counts of Toulouse and Foix, whose vassals they were. Guy de Montfort and his troops punished their boldness by setting fire to the village in 1212.

After this terrible episode, Roquefixade was bought 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 castle 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

The Roquefixade town hall is exhibiting archaeological finds from the village in its reception room.

This space, accessible on request, will enable the curious or history buffs to learn more about the key 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 climb 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 hiking page or in the guide published by the Roquefixade Heritage Association (available from our tourist offices).

Shepherd's huts?

As you make your way along a path through 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, most of them are positioned on promontories overlooking vast stretches of land, on the edge of paths no longer remembered, and with their backs to the meadows!

Instead, they seem to have been erected to participate in the surveillance of the area, or at least to control its strategic accesses.