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Villerouge-Termenés Castle

Cathar Castle

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Situated in the heart of the village of Villerouge Termenès the castle that bears the same name is a wonderful example of the medieval military architecture of the Corbiére region. The castle was probably built in the middle of the 13th century on the site of an older one. From its foundation until the French Revolution the castle belonged to the powerful Archbishop of Narbonne.
The castle now presents an very interesting audio visual exhibition that traces the life of the village in the 14th century.
The castle is intimately related with the history of the Catharism. It is in its central court that one of the last "Perfecti", Guilhelm Bélibaste, was burnt at stake on the 24th of August 1321.
The story of the life of the last "Perfecti" that interestingly enough was not so... perfect is an interesting one. We know the details from the logbook of the inquisitor Jacques Fournier – who later became Pope Benedict XII - bishop of Pamiers, who pursued an aggressive hunt of the last Catharism believers. Guilhelm Bélibaste was born around 1280 in the village of Cubières, in a Cathar believer family. This was a time when the Inquisition was already chasing the all traces of heresy and the believers were forming an underground network. The irony of the Bélibaste’s life is that while the history remembers him as the last "Perfecti", his actions and conduct were anything but in accordance with the preaching of the Catharism, for which so many lives were sacrificed.
He was accused of killing a neighbor shepherd and of fathering a child - sex being forbidden for a Perfecti. He met his match in the person of Arnaud Sicre, who turned him in to the Bishop of Narbonne. He was judged in Carcassonne and burned for heresy in Villerouge Termenés.

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