I’ve been to a goodly number of castles in my day, in England and Scotland, in Malta, Greece, and Turkey. They have ranged from the classic style of round towers and high curtain walls of Bodiam to the hilltop citadels of Mystras and Monemvasia. None of these, however, quite parallels the spectacular Chateau de Peryepertuse.
Situated atop a soaring limestone escarpment, the walls of Peyrepertuse begin over 700m above the valley floor. This Occitan fortress, later heightened and expanded by the French King Louis IX, was a bastion of lordly power here on the shifting mediaeval frontier between France and Spain. Its fate was closely tied through bonds of vassalage both to the County of Narbonne and the Crown of Aragon–alliances which preserved it from the opening salvos of the Albigensian Crusade. After excommunication and a three day siege in 1240, however, its lord Guillaume de Peyrepertuse surrendered it to royal control. From then onwards, it became a link in the chain fortifying these foothills from the Spanish on behalf of the French monarchy.
To appreciate Peyrepertuse’s truly outstanding nature, join me on guided tour in the gallery of photos below. See if you can guess how many chapels Peyrepertuse had, or how many soldiers were used to garrison it when it became a royal fortress? I’d love to hear your estimates, questions, and thoughts in the comments section!