South of France with Kids: Châteaux de Lastours

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Disclaimer: We were questioned a couple different times if we were sure that we wanted to do this hike carrying our 3 year old and 1 year old. It can have difficult terrain at times and has several steep cliffs. We carefully thought about it and decided it was doable for our family and it ended up being  a pretty amazing experience. Please consider any risks and your children’s hiking options (walking, strapped in a carrier, etc.).

While we were in the Languedoc area in the south of France, we heard about the Chateaux de Lastours. The 4 castles date back to the 1200’s and were used as a stronghold during the crusades against the Cathars. Unfortunately after the crusades, the original castles were destroyed and rebuilt and then used as a French military center.

There are two different areas to visit for these chateaux.

The first is a lookout point (belvedere) and is at the top of a hill with a beautiful view of the castles. There’s a small visitor’s center with information on the area and then a short walking path to the lookout point. The walk is very short and easy and stroller accessible. We were able to see the castles very well from the lookout and the girls enjoyed running around.

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The second is another larger visitor’s center down in the town that is also the entrance to the hike. The hike is supposed to take about 2-2.5 hours.

We came in the late afternoon and while it was hot, it was still a pretty nice hike. London walked pretty much the whole time and Adeline alternated between walking and one of us carrying her (for her safety… if it was up to her she would have walked the whole way).

We only had time to visit two of the four castles (one was also closed for renovations anyway). Both were amazing and it was interesting trying to imagine what it would have been like back then.

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Originally, we weren’t sure if this would make it onto our must see list, but I’m really glad we ended up going. Our girls did really well and the castles were just amazing to see up close!

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