La Couvertoirade – Templar Town Still Stunning After 800 Years
La Couvertoirade is a medieval fortified village located at the confines of France’s Larzac plateau. The village has played an important role in this part of the Midi-Pyrenees since the 13th century when the castle was built by a chapter of the medieval Knights Templar located here which played a key role in the development of La Couvertoirade.
By the 15th century the village was in the hands of the Hospitaliers who took over the Templar when they were banned in 1312. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem built the ramparts between 1439 and 1450, and La Couvertoirade continued to be an important local centre until the 17th century. The ramparts and the incorporated towers, some square and some round, still encircle the little town.
Although the castle was constructed by the Templar Knights at the end of the 12th century, the Saint-Christophe church dates was built by the Hospitaliers Knights in the 14th century opposite the castle. Take a look at the church cemetery which is cut in two by the fortifications that were built subsequently – part of the cemetery is inside the walls and part outside. Stone crosses carved with Templar signs mark old graves forgotten in the soil.
The remainder of La Couvertoirade and the fortifications were then built a few decades later. The walk around the top of the ramparts is unmissable for views it provides both across the rooftops of the town and the countryside. You can access the walk, called “Le Chemin de Ronde”, via one of the grandest houses in the village. This is the 15th century Maison de la Scipione, built against the ramparts and once home to an important nobleman.
800 years of history – but how long would it survive the fall of Christian Europe? Let us redouble our efforts to protect both this wonderful heritage – and the future of generations to come!