Lastours Castles (Châteaux de Lastours)
Perhaps most astounding to visitors is the castles’ location on a dramatically narrow ridge. Equally surprising is that archaeologists continue to find historical artifacts near the castles that tell us more about the Cathars. A number of guided half- and full-day tours run to the castles from Toulouse; these often also include stops in Carcassonne and Albi. Some also include visits to wineries.
Things to know before you go
- Wear solid footwear for exploring the ruins, as there’s a lot of uneven ground.
- The castles are not wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.
- Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed.
- Camping is available nearby near the Belvédère (viewpoint).
- Reduced admission rates are available for groups and children six and younger.
How to get there
The castles are due north of Carcassonne, about 25 minutes away by car, and just a little over two hours away from Toulouse. You’ll really need a car to get there, which is why it makes sense to go as part of a guided tour if you don’t have a rental of your own. Ample on-site parking is available.
When to get there
The Lastours Castles are closed to visitors from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15. March has wildly varying opening days and hours, so check ahead before going. In April through October, the castles are accessible every day during daylight hours, with later closing times in July and August. Then in November and December, there are extremely varied hours again, so it's good to check ahead.
Not far from the castles sits the Belvédère, or viewpoint, which is worth visiting for its fantastic views out over the area: you definitely don’t want to miss it if you’re into photography, as the views of the four castles all at once are incredible. Free access is included with chateau tickets.
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- Canal du Midi
- Cabardès Wine Region
- Black Mountains (Montagne Noire)
- Carcassonne Castle (Cité de Carcassonne)
- Albi Cathedral
- Toulouse-Lautrec Museum (Musée Toulouse-Lautrec)
- Space City (Cite de l'Espace)
- Toulouse Cathedral (Cathedrale St-Etienne)
- Museum of Augustins (Musée des Augustins)
- Place du Capitole
- Pont Neuf
- Basilica of Our Lady of the Daurade (Notre-Dame de la Daurade)
- Garonne River
- St. Sernin Basilica (Basilique Saint-Sernin)