Le château d'Agel

Agel Symbole
In the heart of France’s Minervois region, nestled at the foot of the Black Mountain, lies the village of Agel. Its Château is one of a line of fortified castles where the vassals of the Count of Toulouse resisted the Albigensian crusade in the 13th century.
Your hosts, Martine Ecal-Besse and her husband Jean-Marie, look forward to welcoming you to a truly memorable stay in the beautiful, atmospheric surroundings of the Château d’Agel, their family home.

A tour around the Château

In the heart of France’s Languedoc region, at 10 km from Minerve, the château d’Agel is a superb medieval castle of which the oldest part dates from the 12th century onwards, and consists of the main building, four towers and a dovecote. Its extensive terraced gardens covering 2 hectares (5 acres) offer extensive views over the Cesse valley and the Pech mountain: the ideal setting for a quiet walk or a relaxing dip in the swimming pool.

TV program about Agel Castle on french TV

The castle and the park

Our guests testify

Isabella : Welcoming and authentic
This magnificent place enchanted our stay during our journey in the Minervois. It didn't take long for us to fully invest it and experience the privilege of castle life with friends. The owners are charming, attentive and available. Nothing is missing ; the authenticity of the place naturally rubs shoulders with the functional modernity of everyday life. It's a place that we would like not to divulge too much... however, we strongly recommend it to all those who wish to share dream moments. 

Michael : A great experience
We spent a few nights at Agel Castle and it was really a great experience. The places are beautiful and well maintained. In the heart of a very large park, the castle with its medieval towers framing the 18th century building has a lot of charm. You reach it by crossing a terraced garden with its boxwood gardenshaded by century-old trees. Inside, huge rooms with beautiful 18th-19th century furniture create a timeless impression. The rooms, although huge, give an impression of family intimacy. Martine and Jean-Marie, the owners are extremely pleasant and friendly. The quality of the welcome throughout the stay is truly remarkable. The swimming pool, of beautiful dimensions, a little away in the park allows good moments of relaxation. Do not forget to visit the cellar where you can directly buy the wines "Château d'Agel" an adjoining but independent wine property. In short, an experience to repeat!
Helen : A simply stunning Chateau with superb hosts in a spectacular setting.
We have just had an amazing week at Chateau D'Agel. Martine and Jean-Marie were delightful hosts and gave us wonderful recommendations for activities and places to visit including: Canyoning , horse riding; High Ropes and Zip Wires and, Canoeing. A trip to Minerve is a must with supper at La Terrasse as is Carcassonne! Whilst staying at the homely chateau, we had the privilege of private dining on the terrace with Yolande, recommended by Martine. Her home made cooking was a real treat and she was simply fantastic. She was able to offer a stunning menu that adults and teenagers could both enjoy. I cannot recommend the Chateau highly enough, it was a standout week in our summer holidays. Just home and missing the Chateau already, a five star property with a beautiful pool. We will return.

History of the Castle

The early days of the château

For most of the 12th century, the South-West of what is now France was rocked by the scandal of the Cathar or Albigensian heresy, which challenged the teachings of the church of Rome and thereby the very authority of the Pope, Innocent III. The heresy was strongest in the county of Toulouse and all over Languedoc, where vassals of the Count of Toulouse built a line of fortresses to protect themselves against Vatican agents. After Pierre de Castelnau, despatched by the Pope to restore order in the region, was murdered in 1208, the Pope ordered the northern barons to lead a bloody Crusade against the Cathars.

We know from evidence in the oldest part of the château that in the year 1100 its owner was Bernarde, Lord of Agel, Minerve and Cazelles. The Crusade against the Cathars, led by Simon de Montfort, raged with unremitting violence throughout Languedoc In Simon’s bid to take Minerve in 1210, the château d’Agel was almost entirely destroyed by fire. In July of that year, Minerve finally fell, and the 180 Cathars who had taken refuge there threw themselves on to the burning pyre. The château d’Agel, with its commanding position over the Cesse valley was of great strategic importance to the Cathars. Simon de Montfort ordered Aymeri, viscount of Narbonne, to besiege the château, but Guiraud de Pépieux, Lord of Aigues-Vives and Agel, escaped during the night to Minerve, taking with him two French knights whom he had captured.

It was the Treaty of Paris, which annexed Languedoc to France in 1220, that put an end to the Crusade. Guiraud de Pépieux, who had escaped the massacre, set about restoring the château for his descendants.

Changes over centuries

As shown in its variety of window styles, from the tiny windows of the stark 12th century fortress to the beautiful windows of the Renaissance, with their ornamental balusters and chapiters.

During the XVII century, the Renaissance embrasures were replaced on the principal frontage by broad bays with small squares in the style of Trianon. By the first half of the 20th century, the Château had fallen into disrepair, and the northern wing in particular had become a ruin.

In the 1960s the Ecal family began the immense task of restoring the property and its gardens to their former glory. The result you will see when you visit us: a château with a cachet all of its own in an unchanging rural setting, whose unique light and beautiful vegetation are reminiscent of Tuscany.

The Lords of Agel

The history of the Château reads like a portrait gallery of the feudal lords of South-West France… curiously, many of them called Bernard: from 1304 to 1432, Bernard d’Auriac, Guillaume de Molini, Bernard de Maureilhan, Bernard Randulphe, Pierre de Bongigosis, Bernard de Haupoul, Bernard d’Auriac and Bernard d’Aimard.

In 1432, a sale is on record from Bernard de Corsons to Gabriel de Verseilles.

In 1543, the new owners of Agel are Pierre and Simon de Beauxhostes.

In 1764, the property is recorded as having been sold to Jean d’Augier of Narbonne. Thereafter, Agel continued to pass as a legacy from one owner to another, until it passed into the hands of the present owners, the Ecal family.

The arms of Agel

Blason Agel Jaune
The arms of the Beauxhostes family (two interlaced hands surmounted by a crown) were granted by King Philippe Le Bel to Jean de Beauxhostes, whose origins were actually English.

Following Jean de Beauxhostes’ success in the Battle of Furnes in 1270, King Philippe Le Bel declared to Beauxhostes: “I give you my hand as a pledge of the faith that you and your descendants will show to us and our descendants”. Since that time, the intertwined hands have featured in the arms of the Château d’Agel. Look out for them on the monumental mantelpiece in the Great Hall.


The castle

The rooms

The park


+33(0)4 68 91 21 38
Design par