Originally, the population settled at the foot of the castle, perched on a ridge and bordered by vertiginous cliffs. During the Albigensian Crusade, this ancient village or castrum (fortified village) was burnt down by Guy de Montfort’s crusading army.
At the end of the 13th century, the castrum was transformed into a royal fortress and the settlement moved to the foot of the mountain. This new village is built on an orthonormal plan and is based on a foundation charter, making it a bastide.
From the XIIᵉ to the XIIIᵉ centuries, bastides (or new towns) developed throughout Europe: they responded to demographic and economic expansion involving the colonization of land and the strengthening of various political powers.
The founder of the bastide town of Roquefixade was Simon Brise-tête, seneschal of Carcassonne. He chose to name it “Bastide de Montfort” in homage to the former French leader of the Crusader army. This reference to the man who had fiercely fought against the Cathar heresy had as its aim “the exaltation of the holy Catholic faith and the extirpation of heresy”.
Today, the village has lost its medieval appearance, but the streets and houses have retained their original layout.