From the top of its rocky peak, 697m high, the Château de Puilaurens, with its crenellated wall and its four towers, has been surprisingly well preserved.
This example of medieval defensive architecture presents a number of structures that are still intact, such as the castle entrance protected by a chicane of successive parallel walls, defensive protections that date from the beginning of the 17th century, and the keep which stands proudly above the inner courtyard.
This unusual level of preservation for a 'Cathar castle' can be explained by the modest role that it played in the Albigensian crusade. The castle was a refuge for some of the Cathars during this period, but was not of great strategic importance at the time.
Unlike the other citadels, it is difficult to determine the exact date that the Château de Puilaurens fell. Some people think of it as the last 'Cathar citadel', but French historian Michel Roquebert believes that Puilaurens was no doubt taken from its defenders at the same time as Quéribus, that is to say around 1255.
Following this surrender, Puilaurens became, along with the five other royal citadels, the defensive frontier with Aragon, then Spain, and thus one of the 'Five Sons of Carcassone'.
After the Treaty of the Pyrenees, signed in 1659, the castle lost its strategic influence and was abandoned.