Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes, former capital of Fenouilledes
Caudiès is mentioned for the first time in 842, when Charles II gave to one of his knights the state of Fenouillèdes (Villaria Cauderiae part of the Fenouillèdes) to protect the region against Saracens invasions. The St Pierre castle got then built by viscounts to close all access to the Agly Valley. During that time, castles were surrounded by farms but the "Cellera" now called "le Fort" was the only one in Caudiès and it was used to keep food and to hide from the Saracens invasions. In Laval, a kilometre away from the current village, the church is built at the bottom of the St-Pierre castle by the Saint-Jaumes Gorges. In the 12th century, Arnaud de Fenouillet decided to build fortifications to surround the Fort. Also to ensure a better defence and surveillance of the Agly Valley the castle of "Castel Fizel" (Château fidèle: loyal castle) was built.
Ancient Fenouillèdes Capital
The peace Treaty of Corbeil was signed in 1258, St Louis, king of France at the time, decided on Fenouillèdes to become part of the French Kingdom. Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes becomes a royal town and headquarter of the Viguerie in Fenouillèdes. Despite its geographical situation with Spain, the religious wars, fires and plunders, Caudiès took advantage of its glory and its wealth during 5 centuries. The border between Occitania and Cataluna is situated in the south of the Fenouillèdes, between Estagel and Latour-de-France. The Occitan is at the time the national language in the Fenouillèdes and the Aude Valley. St Louis set the defence line from Puilaurens to Quéribus. The Fenouillèdes were then exposed to direct Spanish attacks. Walking around the town, you notice the importance the village had during that time. In fact, the Tower of Viguier situated in front of the Mairie, listed historical monument, shows the wealth and nobility of the owner. A courthouse opens in Caudiès. The opening of the courthouse created the village middle class composed of magistrates, solicitors, lawyers and bailiffs. The two houses on the Mairie square were probably built by them. In the 16th century, Huguenots (French protestant during the religious war), established themselves in the remains of the St-Pierre castle. During that time the altarpiece of Notre-Dame-de-Laval got vandalised. So at the end of the century, a new church was built. Inside it is a classic Versailles Style altarpiece dedicated to the king, Louis XIV.
The first Federation of France
The news about the events of the 14th of July (the Bastille is taken by the revolutionary) reaches the people of Caudiès on the 3rd of August 1789. On the 6th of August, all the village guards met up on the field of Saint-Sacrement to defend the Col of St Louis. The town councillors took an oath to help each other and created the first federation of France. Every year at the same date, the people of Caudiès celebrate this ancestral republican vow on the Mairie square. Following the creation of the French departments, the Fenouillèdes is separated into two administrative districts, L'Aude and the Pyrénées-Orientales. Caudiès loses its status of main town and integrates St-Paul-de-Fenouillet district. Even if, Caudiès had a population of 1359 in 1834 and now has only 636 inhabitants it is a town pride of its historic past and heritage.
Today there is a leisure centre with hostel accommodation and a camping site at Castel Fizel, where you can ride horses, go mountain biking or enjoy water sports.
Places of interest to discover :
Gorges de Saint Jaumes (road to Fenouillet), climbing sites
Notre Dame de Laval –Chapel
The spiral bridge at the Col de Saint Louis (road to Quillan, via the Col Saint Louis)
The fort in Caudiès –Old fortified village. Natural spring water in the village fountains.
Place de la Mairie 66220 Caudiès de Fenouillèdes
Téléphone 00(33)4 68 59 92 25
Opening hours of the Town Hall
Monday - Saturday : 9.00 am - 11.45 am