Belcastel: One Of The Most Beautiful Villages In France

Built all in stone, Belcastel is a fairytale town, with quiet streets and dreamlike spaces.
Belcastel: one of the most beautiful villages in France

Belcastel is a small French town located in the Midi-Pyrénées area. It is a medieval enclave that is included in the network of the most beautiful villages in France, a place with a special charm, whose history has served to make it stronger today.

The history of Belcastel

The history of Belcastel is one of the most beautiful in France. It is a medieval town, of stone houses with a castle crowning its top, which was abandoned in the 70s of the 20th century. The town fell into total ruin and the buildings began to fall.

This idyll between architect and fortress was key to the return to life of Belcastel, as the population returned to their houses, rebuilt them and inhabited them, making the town one of the most beautiful in all of France.

Belcastel

What to see in the town of Belcastel

Thus, and thanks to the efforts of its inhabitants, we can visit this beautiful town located on the banks of the river Aveyron. It is a small medieval town built all in stone that is barely inhabited by about 50 people who make a living from tourism.

And it is not surprising that more and more people visit it because in this beautiful town you can enjoy a castle, a walk along a charming bridge and much more. You want to know more?

1. The Chateau de Belcastel, the jewel of the town

Belcastel Castle

The castle of Belcastel is a fortress of medieval origin that is located on a rocky promontory in the highest part of the town. It is a building that is over 1000 years old and was inhabited until the 18th century.

This was precisely one of its most bitter moments, as a neighbor acquired it and began to sell its stones, so it was completely in ruins. Fortunately, the architect Fernand Pouillon noticed it and, although he could not see it finished, laid the foundations for its restoration.

The medieval bridge

Belcastel Bridge

As Belcastel is located next to the Aveyron river, it needed a bridge to connect its two banks. Thus, a steep-profile medieval bridge was built, like those in a fairy tale. It is carved entirely in stone  and has five eyes through which the river waters flow.

Around the bridge and the river as it passes through the town, there is a large recreation area with places to walk, play with children and have a picnic equipped with wooden tables and benches.

The chapel of Belcastel

Medieval chapel

On the opposite shore to the place where the castle is located we can find the church of Santa María Magdalena de Belcastel. It is a small Gothic building with a single nave with a Latin cross plan inside which we can find the tomb of Alzias de Saunhac, the first of the Belcastel lords and promoter of this work.

It has beautiful ribbed vaults inside, although what stands out the most is the imposing tower with a spire that is adjacent to the façade. To get there you have to cross the medieval bridge and in its surroundings there is a small square where small restaurants and cafes are located.

Behind it there is a small cemetery that keeps the remains of the noble families of Belcastel and that has continued to be used to this day. The architect who fell in love with the town and its castle is buried there, in a tomb from which he can contemplate the latter for all eternity.

The beautiful stone houses and charming streets

Village street

Finally, Belcastel offers you its beautiful streets to walk around and its houses for you to contemplate. Everything in this town is made of beautiful stone in the middle of a spectacular rural setting. And in its bars and restaurants you can taste the typical gastronomy of the area.

If you like places with history and a rich architectural heritage and you are one of those who are looking for quiet places where you can breathe fresh air, Belcastel will surely not disappoint you.

We follow the unique Cathar Route through the south of France

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