Where Eagles Dare: Peyrepertuse Castle

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!

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5 thoughts on “Where Eagles Dare: Peyrepertuse Castle

  1. I really enjoyed the walk up to this one, although when we visited the low cloud made the climb on the rocks a little slippery and we didn’t get to appreciate the views. Hopefully I’ll get to visit again but we can’t alwas wait for good weather.

    • I’m not sure if good weather is always a blessing at Peyrepertuse, though, since the hotter and brighter it is, the more tiring the climb becomes! It’s a fantastic site, though, and well worth all of the effort.

    • Good guess, but the number is actually two, which is two more than I thought it would have. One would hardly want to walk all the way down the mountain and back for church, though!

  2. Pingback: Friday Photo: Queribus Castle | mediaevalmusings

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