The village of Montmaur lies just inside the departement of the Aude, in the region of Languedoc Roussillon, equidistant, about 15 kilometers from St FÃ©lix de Lauragais, Castelnaudary and Villefranche de Lauragais and rises from the plain of the Lauragais, majestically overlooking the surrounding countryside.
The village is dominated by the church and the ChÃ¢teau de Montmaur, built in the 9th and 10th century.
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In 1030 it belonged to the nobility of St FÃ©lix de Lauragais (St FÃ©lix de Caraman at the time) and attached to the Viscount of Albi.
The village was taken and retaken by Simon de Montfort during the repression of the Cathare heretics, the lords of the castle, Bertrand de Montmaur and Sicard de Beaufort were both imprisoned until their death for their part in the support of the heretics.
In 1226, the chÃ¢teau was donated as a gift by the Count of Toulouse, Raymond VII to Roger Bernard, the Count of Foix who left it in the hands of his vassal Pierre de Buisson, until it was finally given as a legacy to the Archbishop of Albi.
The castle which we can see today dates from 1495, is built from local limestone, on the site of the original chÃ¢teau, with cylindrical towers at each corner rising to between 15 and 20 meters high.
At the top of the towers can be seen the sluices where the sewage and waste was thrown directly out of the windows into the moated ditch.
At one corner is the watchtower, covered with local pink tiles – access is gained by way of a spiral staircase, gargoyles top the edges of the tower.
The entrance gate was once protected by a portcullis – none of which remains today – which leads to a square courtyard with a well in the centre.
There are the remains of a wooden structure which was the walkway around the ramparts of the castle.
The Gothic style church, just opposite the chÃ¢teau, dates from around the same time as the chÃ¢teau, with the bell tower being added in 1888.
Inside the church there are 5 lateral chapels and on the door a crest over the door of the presbyterie is that of the Dukes of LÃ©vis-Mirepoix, who were the provosts of Carcassonne from the 15th to the end of the 17th century.
The wars of religion at the beginning of the 17th century were a real test of the village and the chÃ¢teau, after the pillage and the attack and taking of the chÃ¢teau on 16th March 1628, it was saved from the destruction order given by Richelieu by Raymond Cau and Germain Touzet paying of the sum of 18,000 livres.
The chÃ¢teau is in private hands today and is not open to visits, unfortunately.
The village is a sleepy place, which offers some lovely views across the surrounding countryside.