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Château de Villerouge-Termenes
Partially Restored Medieval Episcopal Castle in France

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Castle of Villerouge-Termenes
( The Name in Occitan. Click here to find out more about Occitan. Castèl de Vilaroja de Termenés)

 

Le château de Villerouge-Termenès is a medieval château situated in the Corbières in the département de l'Aude in the Languedoc-Roussillon.

The castle, in the middle of the present village, had belonged to the Archbishops of Narbonne until it was seized by Simon de Montfort and given to one of his lieutenants when nearby Termes was taken in 1210.

It was here that the last known Cathar parfait, Guilhem Belibaste, was burnt alive in 1321 on the orders of the archbishop.

The castle is open to the public and medieval feasts are held here in the summer.

See separate sections below on:

Address / Maps / Location

History

Architecture

Photographs

 

 

 

 

 

Address


Address:
Château de Villerouge-Termenes
11330 Villerouge-Termenes
France


Contact
Cathar Castle Tours
Tel from the US: 010 33 468 201142
Tel from the UK: 01 33 468 201142
Tel from France: 0468 201142
Tel other: + 33 468 201142
www.catharcountry.info
e-mail catharcountry@gmail.com
 

 

Google Maps

 

Small scale map showing the location of
Château de Villerouge-Termenes

Google map showing the location of
Château de Villerouge-Termenes

Large scale map showing
Château de Villerouge-Termenes

Location

 

The village is a Commune in the Corbières located at the foot of Mont Tauch (within the terroir Corbières (AOC)) in the département de l'Aude in the Languedoc-Roussillon.

Access is by a ancient route, now the route nationale 613

In Occitan the name of the village is is Vilaroja de Termenés (the red village of Termenes).

In French the village was called Villerouge until 16 mai 1962 when it became Villerouge-Termenès - The Termenès being the area around Termes.

Plan of Villerouge Termenez

 

History

 

From 1110 until the Révolution, the château and village belonged to the Archbishops of Narbonne, except for the period when the crusaders seized it. It was the seat of one of the 11 baylies of the archbishopric.

The castle, in the middle of the present village, had belonged to the Archbishops of Narbonne until it was seized by Simon de Montfort and given to one of his lieutenants when nearby Termes was taken in 1210.

It was here that the last known Cathar paraffin, Guilhem Belibaste, was burnt alive in 1321 on the orders of the archbishop.

 

 

Villerouge Termenez castles
set in the village of Villerouge Termenez

Architecture

 

The castle is an irregular pentagon in plan, with round towers at four corners and a postern gate at the fifth.

It was built between the XII - XIV Centuries by the Archbishops of Narbonne (Archevêques de Narbonne)

Classé monument historique on 6 October 1976

 

 

 

 

 
 

Villerouge Termenez castles
set in the village of Villerouge Termenez

 

 


GUIDED TOURS OF CATHAR CASTLES OF THE LANGUEDOC

You can join small exclusive guided tours of Cathar Castles
led by an English speaking expert on the Cathars
who lives in the Languedoc
(author of www.cathar.info)

Selected Cathar Castles. Accommodation provided. Transport Provided.

Cathar Origins, History, Beliefs.
The Crusade, The Inquisition, and Consequences

Visit the Cathar Tours Website for more information

 

Photographs

 

Location of Villerouge Termenez in the Aude

 

The castle of Villerouge Termenez from the air

 

Villerouge Termenez castles
set in the village of Villerouge Termenez

Plaque at Villerouge Termenez

 

Plan of Villerouge Termenez

 

Exterior of the Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Village of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Old Postcard of Villerouge Termenez

 

Village of Villerouge Termenez

 

 

Approach to the castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Exterior of he castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

The castle of Villerouge Termenez from the air

 

Arms on a local building
The style suggests the 17th Century

 

Approach to the Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Village of Villerouge Termenez

 
 
 

Village of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

 

Postern Gate from the interior

 

Old Postcard of Villerouge Termenez

 

Old Postcard of Villerouge Termenez

 

Old Postcard of Villerouge Termenez

 

Arms of the village of Villerouge Termenez

 

Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Village of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Village of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

 

 

Window seat inside the castle of Villerouge Termenez
Seats were built here because they were the lightest place in the room
In pre-feminist time, women would sit here to work on textiles

 
 

A doorway in the castle showing the thickness of the walls

 
 

The entrance to the castle of Villerouge Termenez with a murder hole.
The original road level was a couple of feet higher but the entrance
was still tall enough for a mounted knight.

 
 

Part of a staircase
inside the largest of the four round towers

(it is set into the thickness of the tower wall)

 
 

A plaque set into the road at Villerouge Termenez

 
 

The interior of the postern gate at the castle of Villerouge Termenez.
The gate is well above the level of the ground for defensive purposes,
and could be used for mounting sorties against attackers.

 
 

Exterior of the castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Occitan roadsign at Villerouge Termenez

 

Plan of the castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Entrance of the castle of Villerouge Termenez, showing the murder hole
from which defenders could shoot at or drop hot materials on attackers at the gate.

 

Entrance of the castle of Villerouge Termenez, Close up showing the murder hole
from which defenders could shoot at or drop hot materials on attackers at the gate.

 

Window of the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
The style is very early - pre Romanesque, what in England would be called Anglo-Saxon

 

Fireplace at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
The style is early. It has an Inglenook on one side and an oven on the other.

 

A sink (evier) at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
This is very basic - you can just see the overflow drain..

 

Wall at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
The style is a stone wall, covered in lime and painted to look like stone,
the height of fashion in the High Middle ages.

 

Wall painting at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
The arms are those of the owner - the then Archbishop of Narbonne.

 

Modern wall painting at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
The style is typical of the period, and can still be seen in local churches in the Corbieres.

 

Stone floor at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
The style is typical - it allowed a random selection is irregularly sized rectangular slabs to be used
with minimal trimming to get rows of the same width.

 

The Entrance ramp at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
This ramp was part of a defensive barbican, vulnerable from castle walls above

 

Exterior the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
there is a round tower at each corner

 

Exterior of the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
there is a round tower at each corner

 

Exterior of the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
The wooden structure is a wooden staircase up to the postern gate, partially obscured by shrubbery.
It would have been defended by a brattice (brettech) the vestiges of which can be seen directly above.

 

Exterior of the castle of Villerouge Termenez,

 

The remnants of a fireplace and bread oven at the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
Also vestiges of a painted wall.

 

Interior of the castle of Villerouge Termenez
With modern structures & atmospheric model

 

Model of the castle and village of Villerouge Termenez,
showing how it would have looked in the Middle ages

 

Model of the castle and village of Villerouge Termenez,
showing how it would have looked in the Middle ages
Note the sophisticated crenellated barbican

 

Model of the castle and village of Villerouge Termenez,
showing how it would have looked in the Middle ages
As in most cases, the castle is a second defensive structure - the village itself is fortified.

 

Inner wall in the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
Many non defensive walls even in castles were made of wattle and daub (colombage)
more familiar from domestic Tudor buildings

 

Wall and half ruined tower of the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
seen from the upper story of the inside

 

roof of a circular tower of the castle of Villerouge Termenez,
seen from directly below

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 

Model of the medieval Castle of Villerouge Termenez

 
 
     

 

 

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