The village, with its fortified castle, was an important place in the Middle Ages which depended on the County of Toulouse. In 1211, during the famous Albigensian crusade, the city was besieged by Simon de Montfort and his army. Trapped, the garrison negotiated their freedom in exchange for the heretics they sheltered. After having converted about fifty of them, the bishops leading this crusade left the fate of the many last heretics in the hands of the army, which burned them alive.
Our count moved towards Les Cassés, a castle which belonged to the count of Toulouse. … He laid siege to it: the count of Toulouse’s men, judging that they could not prolong the resistance despite the strength of the castle, capitulated… the crusaders seized about sixty heretics, and burned them with great joy,’ (Histoire albigeoise, pg. 96-97). ‘The army of God won the Castle of Les Cassés, stormed it and captured it. They burned about sixty perfects which they found there. (Guillaume de Puylaurens, 73)
Subsequently, all the fortifications and the castle were razed. The castle was rebuilt by the Count of Toulouse, and in 1235 the inquisitors were placed there to drive out the last heretics.
Today, as you walk around, you can see the remains of the old monastery of the Poor Clares from the 14th century and the Caunes windmill, from the 18th century.
Don’t miss the Cathar Memorial, recalling all the pyres in the Lauragais, erected in 2011 in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the pyre of Les Cassès, as well as the carved discoidal stelae.