Château de Saissac
Camping near Château de Saissac
Just 10 km from your campsite, come and admire the Château de Saissac, perched on a rocky spur overlooking the Vernassonne ravine. Positioned at the entrance to the Montagne Noire, this castle played a major strategic role in the days when valleys had to be protected.
Château de Saissac, a Cathar stronghold
Much further north than the other Cathar castles we often forget that Saissac castle was a glorious ally of the Cathar cause. It is also the largest and oldest, having been acquired by the Count of Carcassonne in 960. The château is owned by the powerful Saissac family. Bertrand de Saissac, tutor to Raymond-Roger Trencavel (a leading figure in Catharism), was condemned by the Inquisition 40 years after his death (there are no reliable sources to support the claim that Bertrand de Saissac had embraced the Cathar faith). But the Saissacs were forced to give up all their possessions during Simon de Montfort’s crusade against the Albigensians in 1209. The castle is taken by Bouchard de Marly, commander of the Crusaders. From the 12th to the 16th century, the castle passed through the hands of several families.
During the Wars of Religion, Protestant armies ravaged the village but were unable to take the château, which was no longer inhabited by its owner, the Seigneur de Luynes. Over the years, the building fell into disrepair, and during the French Revolution, it was sold as national property to several owners, including a company of treasure hunters who blew up the dungeon with dynamite, but were not rewarded in any way… But in 1979, the Saissac treasure was born: 2000 denarii dating back to the 13th century.
After being used as a quarry, the château was bought by Dupuy-Mazel in the early 20th century, who sold it to the Saissac town council forty years later.
Renovation of the Château de Saissac
The Château de Saissac has been undergoing restoration work since 1995 to consolidate the walls. Then, in 2005 and 2006, two rooms inside the main building were renovated in the 16th century style, and now house a small numismatic museum, including the famous coin treasure. The coins bear the seal of Saint Louis, demonstrating that royal power was well established in Languedoc-Roussillon. The museum also features an exhibition on the theme of money. In another adjoining room, a fun and educational trail lets you explore the meaning of treasure…
An entertaining visit for the whole family, where you can admire one of the most beautiful views of the Cabardes region.
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