Château de Puilaurens

On this absolutely beautiful and warm Sunday we got started in the early morning and headed north into Cathar country again. Already at sunrise, the sky over Marquixanes promised something special.
Today, the destination was the very old fortified château of Puilaurens. 

It is perched on an almost inaccessible mountain top and dates back at least to around 950. It is still very impressive 1066 later. The château may be best known as a Cathar stronghold in the 1200s but later it has also been a border fortress.
Accessing the castle demanded quite a bit of goat-like climbing but the exercise was certainly worth it. 

The view from the top is awesome and it is incomprehensible how the folks managed to build this massive and extensive building, live in it, and get their provisions and water; – defending it against an ascending enemy seems more straightforward.

The road to and from the castle took us through many isolated, romantic and tiny villages with very strange names deep down in narrow gorges and on top of mountain passes among grazing fields for cows, sheep and goats above tree line.

The different environments also provided a variety of spring flowers to enjoy.