Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Visit to the Chateau Puivert

Yesterday we made a visit to the Chateau at Puivert and learned a little bit of it's history. The tower pictured above houses a dungeon, a chapel and a music room, not to mention an incredible set of circular stairways.
This is one of the entrances and it once had a moat and a drawbridge. The moat is barely visible now and it boggles the mind to imagine where the got the water to fill it on top of this hill. In a later post I will show you some views from the top of the tower.

On one tower there was a partially destroyed circular staircase of the kind that climbs to the top of the tower in the first photo. I remember from some history class at some time or another, that circular staircases gave the defender a great advantage. As you went up the stair case you were always turning to your right, making it difficult to use a sword in the right hand. On the other hand (heh heh) if you are defending from above it provides one with a broad swath to swing your blade. Interesting, n'est pas?



You can climb to the top of the donjon (keep) from where you can see the Quercorb plain to north and the peak of Bugarach to the east. To the west you can just see Monts├ęgur with the the high Pyrenees behind it. The pall of black smoke rising from Montsegur on the morning of 16 March 1244 would have been clearly visible from here. I took this picture from the top of the dungeon, and if you enlarge the photo, you may be able to make out the top of Montsegur just peeking over the top of the hill in the middle ground. Not the tall one on the left, but the barely visible one more to the middle. Up there is where the Cathars who refused to recant their religion were burned in a pyre.


This is of course the chapel. It is very serene and quiet inside the incredibly thick walls. Light comes in from two windows that now have Plexiglas panels, but once were open to the air. There is a very unusual font for holy water that was kept flowing during services by a servant pouring water into a reservoir on the roof.

2 comments:

Anna Scherer said...

We went there, it was pretty cool. Really windy though, so we could only stay on top of it for a second! We saw a lot of gliders, well 2 or 3!!!! Good to see you are having lots of adventures!!

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