1255 a French army was dispatched to deal with the last Cathar
stronghold, but the Cathars slipped away without a fight, probably
to Aragon or Piedmont, both regions where Cathar beliefs were still
common, and where the Occitan language was spoken.
Mentioned in 1020, the castle of Quéribus was part of the
County of Besalù, then of Barcelona and was later held as
a royal fortress by the house of Aragon in 1162.
The castle of Quéribus is situated on the commune of Cucugnan
which is renowned in French literature as the site of the ‘Priest's
Sermon' by Alphonse Daudet.
A ‘Cucugnan family' appeared for the first time in 1193.
During the Crusade against the Albigensians, this family was presented
as being one of the fervent defenders of the Languedoc cause.
Before 1240, Pierre de Cucugnan took food and stores to Cathars
in the castle of Puilaurens
and sheltered the dispossessed knight Guiraud d'Aniort from the
Plateau de Sault.
In 1240, Pierre joined Raymond Trencavel at his siege of Carcassonne.
Following the failure of the siege, Pierre surrendered to the French
King Louis IX ( Saint-Louis).
The castle of Quéribus continued to serve as a haven to
Cathars. The Cathar deacon of the Razès, Benoît de
took refuge here under Chabert de Barbaira, who was finally forced
to surrender to Saint-Louis in 1255. The last stronghold to fall,
eleven years after the fall of Montségur,
Quéribus then became a piece in the French frontier defence
This is one of the "Five Sons of Carcassonne",
along with Termes,
five castles strategically placed to defend the French border against
It lost all strategic importance after the Treaty
of the Pyrenees in 1659 when the border was moved even further
south to its present position along the crest of the Pyrenees.