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Fenouillèdes Cathare

A bit of history about the region ...


The Fenouilledes contain many prehistoric treasures, evidence of ancient occupation going back to Neanderthal period (120 000 BC), traces of early habitations (5800 BC) along the banks of the river Agly, remains of communal burial places (2000 BC), bones and metal objects dating back to the bronze, copper and iron ages. (bracelets, vases, hairpins and bones). The most emblematic remains have been found in Dolmens, these are still visible in Ansignan, Feilluns and Trilla, and the ancient standing stone at Prats-de-Sournia.

Having long been a frontier region.The Fenouillèdes has been through 5000 years of cultural change, Spanish, Celtic, Greek, Roman (aqueduc at Ansignan) as well as Germanic and Arabic influences (château of the Maures in Caudies) before finally coming under French rule during the short reign of Pépin le Bref in the 8th century.

It became a county or province around the end of the 10th century.


Though the local administration is linked in to the Pyrénées Orientales department, the Fenouilledes are very attached to and proud of their Occitan history and traditions in the Cathar region. The Quéribus, Peyrepertuse and Puilaurens castles, were among the last strongholds of the Cathar movement. Let us guide you through and reveal the remarkable history of the Cathars.... and come and visit the château Saint-Pierre in Fenouillet ... one of the last remaining testimonies to Catharisme.

During the 12th century the Order of the Knights Templers consolidated the land assets of the Commanderie du Mas Deu (Trouillas) with the help of the nobles in the Fenouilledes : Prugnanes (1173), Rabouillet (1188), Rasiguères, Lesquerde and Caramany … The creation of an administrative center in Centernac (Saint-Arnac) in 1214, facilitated the management of the land and its agricultural resources.

The Fenouilledes was therefore the ancient frontier between the kingdon of Aragon and the kingdom of France for four centuries before the eventual annexing of the Roussillon region by the treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659. The village of Latour-de-France, was before this time a frontier post that controlled the inroads in to the Agly valley.. its name comes from its lookout tower that was first mentioned in 1020, the tower which overlooked the frontier is still visible at "La Roque d'En Talou".