Walking around the center of Quillan you will find a large stone church. In typical fashion of this area at first glance it looks more like a fortress with high walls and a relative lack of decoration.
Interestingly, the church is first mentioned in 930 according to the Tourist Office. One assumes that it was destroyed by fire or floods, but the historical record seems to indicate that the church was built/rebuilt in the 14th century, with significant alterations in the 17th and 19th centuries.
Perhaps the most imposing part of the church is its high bell tower, which by the way uses a lot of stones taken from the chateau, which by then had fallen into disuse.
The Pieta over the doorway is a copy of the original that is inside the Church. You notice the shell, indicating that at one time this was a stop on the way to Santiago de Campostela.
Some researchers believe that they have found a Templar keystone near the front of this church.
Quillan is basically in the middle of some of the great cities in the region,therefore it has been competed over and been an ally of various power centers. The Chateau was built in the 12th century by the archbishop of Narbonne. The King of France later made it a fortress to resist the invasion of the Aragonese.
The Chateau continues to be under restoration. You can access it by going up the ramp de Chateau. It is free and open to the public, but there isn't much to see though.
You can get to Quillan from Carcassonne. Today many of the trips are bus only as the French rail system has been trying to cut down on the number of stations in very small towns, replacing them with bus service instead.
Total travel time is about an hour. Today we went through lovely wine country and got off the one car train at Limoux. From there the bus met us in front of the station and took us the rest of the way.
All for the total price of ONE euro! Yes, you read it right!
In most French towns you will find a memorial to the men of the town who fought in war. In most of the ones I have seen they are dedicated to the veterans of the First World War with some side panels for World War II and Indochine.
Curiously, the one in Quillan is located a bit down from the main square, you'd have to look to find it.
If you are planning to visit the castles please make sure that you are wearing appropriate footwear. The slopes to the castles are steep and unpaved. You will be walking over stones of varying sizes which can be slippery and require a good grip.
Likewise, the castles themselves have a lot of climbing of rocks involved as well as the rather scary ascent to some of the higher areas of the castle.
Please be careful. These castles are in rather isolated places and their design intended them to be difficult to reach. Don't get yourself injured, medical attention would be a bit difficult to get in such isolated places.
The office of Tourism was very nice, both before and during the trip. My understanding is that the regional tourist office is a bit biased towards Carcassonne, which gets the lion's share of the attention, so they are understandably happy to help when you inquire about Quillan.
There is a good selection of materials about sights to see in the Upper Aude and around the city. Good information on bus and train timetables and special events.
Their web address is
Quillan itself probably gets more attention as a convenient place to stay and access the other sights nearby than a destination in itself. While I was in Quillan it seemed a lot of visitors were coming to visit to take tours of Rennes le Chateau and to go hiking. The Tourist Office can help to discover a lot of opportunities you never knew were there.