Bastide de Mirepoix
The archaeological material found in Mirepoix tells us about this first town, certainly destroyed in about 1000 by the Goths.
The town therefore naturally consolidated at the foot of the foot of the feudal castle in the 11th century on the right bank of the Hers.
The custom in southern France of sharing the land between all of the lord’s children led to the impoverishment of the minor nobility and made them all the less tolerant in the face of the Church’s wealth. And that explains, at least in part, the development of the Cathar heresy. The town of Mirepoix occupied a central place in the heresy which the local lords and populations supported actively.
The town served several times as the site for the council of the Cathar “perfects”, particularly in 1206 when about 600 of them met there.
When the Albigensian crusade was launched, the army of crusaders moved from Fanjeaux to Pamiers and took Mirepoix; the lordship was granted to Simon de Montfort’s lieutenant, Guy de Lévis who came from Ile de France. The de Lévis family settled there and imposed one of the harshest feudal regimes in Ariège.
On 16 June 1289, the town was for the most part destroyed by a flood and the inhabitants asked Guy III de Lévis to rebuild it on a safer site. He decided to adopt the regular “bastide” layout for this “new town”.
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