A few nights ago, I visited the castle ruins of the Chateaux de Lastours with a picnic basket and some guests.
I’m a big fan of picnics. They’re a fantastic way to enjoy the natural surroundings and historic sites of the region around O’Vineyards. Plus, if you ever have one of the really big meals at our Table d’Hote, you might be interested in a lighter picnic meal later in the day!
North of Carcassonne and O’Vineyards, about twenty five minutes away, there is a small village called Lastours. Above the village there are four castles which used to be considered impregnable. Their position in the mountains and their close proximity to eachother meant that attackers would have to launch four simultaneously offensives. Simon de Montfort never bothered an all out attack on these fortifications.
Now the castles lie in partial ruin. There is a path up to Quertinheux (the southernmost castle) and the most dangerous parts have hand rails, although it’s still quite a trek! And you can tell Health & Safety haven’t been around in a while.
On the bright side though, this site is majestic and untamed. Even in the height of summer, you can come here and enjoy the sights without the swarms of tourists that you find in the Cité de Carcassonne.
From Quertinheux, you can see the other three castles (Surdespine, Tour Régine, and Cabaret). This is a perfect vantage point for a nice little picnic. I should point out though that there aren’t any benches so you’ll be sitting on the ground or on stone walls. And there are no trash cans so you have to bring your own trash bag to keep this beautiful site neat and tidy!