The Cité of Carcassonne is the largest city in Europe with its medieval city walls still intact. Although the outer curtain wall of the cité is French, and the whole site has been substantially restored, the Château Comtal has a strong claim to be called a “Cathar Castle”.
When the Catholic Crusader army arrived in 1209 they first attacked Raymond-Roger Trencavel’s castrum at Bèziers and then moved on to his main stronghold at Carcassonne. Inside the Cité is the castle of Raymond Roger Trencavel, Viscount of Carcassonne, Béziers, Albi and the Razès. He died in his own prison here in 1209, aged 24, after being taken prisoner while under a safe-conduct from the Cistercian Abbot Arnaud Amaury the papal legate and military leader of the Albigensian Crusade who was besieging Carcassonne (and who then appointed Simon de Montfort as military leader of the crusade).
The castle was restored in 1853 by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.