Region: Pyrénées Orientales (Eastern Pyrennean Mountains)
Other names: Chateau de Salses, La Forteresse de Salses
Originally a Spanish castle, now in France in the Plateau de Rousillon area, which is a part of France since 1659, in the Eastern Pyrenean Mountains region. The Salses Castle is built on a narrow flat streak of land along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is through this passage that the army of Hannibal made its passage going to Italy in 218 BC. The name of the castle – Salses, comes from salinas fons, salty sources and it was given after the two sources of the salt water discovered during its construction. The village separated form the castle by the TGV rail bears its name – Salses-Le-Château. Among its habitants there is a known French writer Claude Simon (Nobel Prize 1985) who lives and has w winery there. Local cooperative of wine producers has a big store nearby the castle, with wines of local appellations - strong red of Fitou, sweet Muscat de Rivesaltes, popular Corbières and Côtes du Roussillon. The fortress of Salses is unique through its size, construction and colours. Interesting to visit.
This half buried in the ground fortress has been built between 1497 and 1504, by the Spanish architect Francisco Ramiro Lopez for the King Ferdinand of Aragon, King of Spain during the discovery of the New World on the place of the earlier castle, which stood there. The Salses Castle has been built to withstand the metal cannon bullets. Besieged it could house for months the garrison of 1500 men and 300 horses. Its walls are low and up to 9 meters thick. Taken by the French in 1642 and left by its Spanish garrison, the castle has been in the years after rebuilt by the famous French military architect Vauban. It is an example of the transition between medieval fortified château and the modern bastioned fortifications, revolutionary at the time.
The fortress is built from pale red brick and natural stone. It is very well preserved.
Today: A French National Monument, called officially La Forteresse de Salses, the Salses fortress is now a museum and houses a collection of modern, avanguard sculpture.
Times may vary. The Salses fortress is open every day, in summer from 9.30 to 19.00 (from June to September), and from October to May 10.00-12.15 and after lunch 14.00-17.00. Last guided tour 1 hour before closing.
Closed: January 1, May 1, November 1 and 11. Telephone: (+33) 04 68 38 6013
Tickets are € 7,50. Children under 18 have free admission except school parties.
How to get there: By car – 16km from Perpignan by RN direction Narbonne ca. 10 minutes ride; from Leucate by RN direction Perpignan ca. 25 minutes ride, by freeway A 9 from Perpignan or Narbonne, accessible from exit 40 (riding from Montpellier) and exit 41(riding from Perpignan) , the castle is on the eastern side of the freeway. From the coast using local roads D11 or D83 driving direction Rivesaltes. By bicycle from Perpignan ca.24km or 35 minutes through small local roads.
Facilities: Guided tours, lecture tours in several languages, educational activities, modern art cultural events, and souvenirs shop.
Free pictures of Salses castle to illustrate your web site:
Nearby cities: Perpignan, Leucate, Narbonne, Montpellier
Nearby castles: Fitou