The Musée Historique et Archéologique at Montségur is well worth a visit. It contains all the items found during excavations at the site of the castle including cannonballs, chisels, weapons and everyday objects dating from the 13th century. It also has a permanent exhibition about Catharism in Ariège. Visiting the museum is essential to get close to the everyday life of the men and women who lived in the castle of Montségur over the centuries. In addition to the various objects, models and other replicas, there are also the tombs of a man and a woman who died during the Siege of 1243 – 1244 (the only tombs ever found on Pog up to now).
Also, don’t miss the Limonaderie (lemonade factory) de Fontestorbes at Bélesta. Bélesta is well-known for two things : its forest which produces quality pine wood and its intermittent spring…La Fontaine de Fontestorbes. A curiosity of nature due to its intermittent function, the Fontaine de Fontestorbes has always enjoyed an excellent reputation for the purity of its water which is why lemonade started being made in Fontestorbes in 1885. At that time, Bélesta had 3 lemonade makers who shared the local market, at a time when the only fizzy drink in existence was lemonade. Today only one remains !
And don’t forget « Les Sapins » restaurant at Nalzen. This charming ‘auberge’ on the edge of a pine forest between the castles of Montségur and Roquefixade is a perfect place for a gourmet stop in Cathar country. Enjoy fine, tasty, traditional yet creative cuisine made from local produce in a friendly atmosphere.
Useful information :
For information and bookings, ring 05 61 01 06 94 or 05 61 01 10 27. Castle is open February – December. Pre-booked guided tours available, if required, and for groups of 20 people or more. Picnic area, free car park, coach park, signposted footpaths, drinking water. In winter, the castle is sometimes closed during bad weather. Disabled parking outside the ground floor of the museum only, no access for cars to the castle