Lastours is group of four small Cathar castles on a rocky ridge north of Carcassonne, 27 miles (43 km) west of Le Fort Pouzols-Minervois. They were built to protect the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) region.
There were three tower (tours) on this site as early as the 13th century. They were built by the Lords of Cabaret, named after the surrounding Cabardès area. The four towers that you can see today are called Cabaret, Surdespine and la Tour Régine. Quertinheux is built on a separate pinnacle nearby.
During the Pope’s crusade against the Cathars in the 13th century, Lastours was one of the sites of fiercest resistance. In 1209 Simon de Montfort unsuccessfully besieged the castles at Lastours.
After the Council of Toulouse in 1229, the Lords of Cabaret were forced to abandon their stronghold. The castles were then confiscated and became a royal stronghold. It was the French king who built the fourth tower, the Tour Régine. An exhibition explains the site’s 4,000 year long history to visitors.
At the entrance to the castles of Lastours you will find Le Puits de Trésor (the Treasure Well), a restaurant with one Michelin star for great fine dining experiences. Booking is highly recommended! Food at the brasserie next door is also excellent and is prepared by the same Michelin-starred kitchen team.
For opening hours, admission prices and other practical information, visit www.chateauxdelastours.fr. A visit can be combined with, for example, Castelnaudery or Bram.