Around the Montaillou Castle

Walks and hikes at Montaillou

  See photos (2)
3.6 km
Walks and hikes
1h 30min
Easy
  • Right in the heart of the Sault Region, in an enclave attached to the district of Ariège called Pays d'Alion (or Aillou, it was named after a rich seigneurial family), the village of Montaillou has a tormented history. Indeed, all its inhabitants were Cathars at the beginning of the fourteenth century. We know the existence of this heretical community thanks to the interrogations of the inquisitors Geoffroy d'Ablis and Jacques Fournier, who gave us with these questionings a glaring description of life (the story is told in the book"Montaillou, village occitan" by Emmanuel Leroy -Ladurie). This very easy hike will allow you to discover the ruins of the famous Montaillou castle and its surroundings.

    Departure. Go up towards the church and the castle by following the white and red markings of the long-hiking trail called GR107 which you will leave at the end of the little street in front of a large fountain.

    Fountain. Now follow the yellow signs that will lead you up to the right towards the castle. Take a few minutes to visit its ruins which hosted some archaeological dig that are explained on signs within the walls of the castle. After the visit, follow the path that runs between the meadows which then goes down along a grove at the Col de Pichaca.

    Col de Pichaca. Go to the left and you will find near a cross, a junction with the GR107.
    Take this hiking trail which goes up for a moment in the forest of pines. Then it joins a wide grassy path (yellow markings) that you descend.

    Junction. Get on a road that you will follow on the left to return to the center of Montaillou.

    For more information, you can buy the Hiking-guide "D'un village à l'autre" (6,50€, only in french)
  • Difference in height
    143.67 m
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
Points of interest
1 Montaillou Castle
The castle of Montaillou existed before the 12th century, as it was the place of residence of the lords of Alion who later became lords of Usson and Quérigut. Nowadays, only a few sides of the walls of the square tower (or donjon) remains; Their upper part and the south wall disappeared. At the east there is a large terrace, which use to host the barnyard and at least one house; we can also see some vestiges of ramparts and a ditch surrounding the castle. At the east of the castle there are some quadrangular depressions leaning against the slope, which probably used to mark out the houses of the old village that was abandoned when the inhabitants decided to live closer to the roads. However there is still this site, which has an austere beauty and that has never ceases to enrich the history thanks to its archaeological discoveries.
2 GR 107 : "Chemin des Bonhommes"
From Montsegur in Ariege to Berga in Catalonia, this long hiking trail follows the itinerary of the last Cathars in exile. By using this trail to seek refuge in Catalonia they were fleeing the Inquisition and the risk of being jailed, robbed or killed. The "Chemin des Bonshommes" follows a major route that used to be very important from the 11th to 16th centuries. It is a cross-border Pyrenean itinerary that allows you by feet, on a horse's back or even on an mountain bike to travel back in time to find a real mix of cultures surrounded by remarkable landscapes. The hiking guide describing this route is published by the French Federation of Hiking and it is available in numerous points of sale.
144 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 1276 m
  • End altitude : 1276 m
  • Maximum altitude : 1376 m
  • Minimum altitude : 1274 m
  • Total positive elevation : 144 m
  • Total negative elevation : -144 m
  • Max positive elevation : 56 m
  • Min positive elevation : -71 m
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