Between the Montagne Noire and the Pyrenees, in the center of the Aude
Departement, is a spectacular countryside of wild hills, covered with broom, lavender,
juniper and beautiful forests, still influenced by the memory of the historical
events which took place there. The Corbières mountains, Pyrenean foothills near the vast fertile
Lauraguais plain, were the cradle and centre of development of Cathar heresy in 12-th century.
During the 11th and 12th centuries, Termes was the seat
of an important fiefdom. In 1061, the lord possessed the
circumscription dominated by the castle: the Termenès.
Utilising different opportunities, the lords of Termes increased
their territory, causing occasional conflicts, for example, with the Abbey of
When the Crusades against the Albigensians began, the fiefdom spread
from Arques in the west to Aguilar in the east. Raimond de Termes
was thus one of the most powerful vassals of Trencavel, Viscount of Carcassonne.
Implicated in the Cathar heresy, Raimond de Termes fought against the Crusade.
When, in August 1210, Simon de Montfort decided to force the
‘impregnable' castle of Termes into submission, it was one of the most
crucial episodes in the Crusade. The defenders resisted for four
months. Finally, however, it was the shortage of water and dysentery which
forced the besieged to flee on 20 November 1210… Raimond de Termes was taken
prisoner and his possessions were confiscated and given to Alain de Roucy, a
Temporarily recuperated during the collapse of the Crusade around 1223, the
castle became a royal French fortress in 1228. Whereas the castle was
progressively reinforced, the adjoining village settlement was evacuated in
1257. From that time on, Termes served as fortress defending the France-Aragon
border: one of the ‘Five sons of Carcassonne'. The castle was
occupied by a royal garrison for four centuries.
Olivier de Termes, son of Raimond, became famous for his
many battles, whether they be against the French king, or, after his submission
in 1248, as a Holy Crusader in Palestine.
The demolition of the castle was decided in 1652, seven years before the
Treaty of the Pyrenees displaced the border further south.
The site was then forgotten until the first conservation measures were
taken in the mid-20th century. It was listed as an Historical Monument
Of this long and painful epic, there remain today only a
ruin watched by old oak trees
and in face, the property of Prat de Mu, overlooking a flower covered valley, shaded by
oak trees, pines and cypresses, full of charm and mystery, of
peace and memories on the painful historical events which took place here...