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Château de Biron
Well Preserved Medieval Castle in France

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Castle of Biron


The Château de Biron is a castle in the French commune of Biron in the valley of the Lède, a tributary of the Lot River in the département of Dordogne in Périgord, part of the Aquitaine. Biron was held by Cathars in 1211 and taken by Simon IV de Montfort the following year.

Agen had belonged to the Kings of England and Richard I had given it to the Count of Toulouse as a dowery for Richard's sister Jeanne (or Joanna) of England when Richard married her to Raymond VI. The Plantagenets held it again at times during the 14th and 15th century, but it finnished up as part of France along with the other territories of the Counts of Toulouse. Biron was erected as a duché-pairie in 1598, for Charles de Gontaut, created duc de Biron.

The present château bears additions over the centuries that make it a picturesque ensemble: a twelfth century keep, sixteenth-century living quarters, a chapel and vaulted kitchens. The commune purchased the Château de Biron in 1978, with a view to restoring the structure as a tourist draw. Since 1928, the Château de Biron has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.



Château de Biron
Biron 24540

Château de Biron
Biron 24540

Cathar Country Tours
Telephone from the UK: 00 33 468 201142
Telephone from the US: 010 33 468 201142
Telephone from France: 0468 201142
Telephone from other countries: +33 (0)468 201142



Google Maps


Small scale map showing the location of
Château de Biron

Google map showing the location of
Château de Biron

Large scale map showing
Château de Biron




Capture of Biron in 1212


Martin Algai had acquired the Château of Biron by marriage to a daughter of Henry of Gontaud. He had joined Simon de Montfort's Crusader army but had then deserted them at Castelnaudry in 1211. The following year Simon took his revenge for this desertion by killing him in a manner regarded as particularly shameful, and reserved for those considered guilty of treason.


From the Historia, 337

After capturing and fortifying Penne [d'Agenais] the Count decided to lay siege to the neighbouring castrum named Biron. This place had been given by the Count of Toulouse to the traitor Martin Algai who (as recorded earlier) had at one time sided with our Count but later deserted him in an act of treason. He was staying in Biron and decided to await our forces' arrival there; what happened subsequently showed that his decision was ordained by a just judgement of God. Our men reached the place and started to besiege it. They then mounted an attack and after great efforts and a remarkable display of courage climbed the walls and seized the bourg. Their opponents at once retired to the castle, but realised they would not be able to hold out and sought to make peace, on the basis that they would hand over the castle so long as they themselves were allowed to escape with their lives. In no way did the Count wish this to happen. Indeed, he feared that the traitor Martin Algai might escape in secret, and since his main objective in starting the siege had been to secure Martin's capture he offered to free his adversaries from the threat of death if they would surrender the traitor to him. They eagerly assented to this proposal, seized Martin and handed him over to the Count. On taking him the Count offered him the opportunity to confess his sins such had been his practice, as a good Catholic, in dealing with other condemned men. He then had him tied to a horse and dragged through the army and finally hanged from a gibbet a fate in keeping with his crimes.

|[Translation by WA &MD Sibly, The History of the Albigensian Crusade]

The Canso (Laisse 116) added a few details such as that the Crusaders bore an Oriflamme (the flag of the King of France) and that the fief was subsequently handed over to Sir Arnold of Montaigu by Simon de Montfort.




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