Place Villefranche-de-Conflent

Vue panoramique du village fortifié de Villefranche-de-Conflent. Source : GNU Free Documentation License

An 11th century medieval city, fortified by Vauban in the 17th century, Place Villefranche-de-Conflent is located at the foot of the Canigou in the heart of the Pyrénées Orientales.

Villefranche-de-Conflent is a town founded in 1090 by Count Guillaume Raymond of Cerdagne. It is the capital of the viscounty of Conflent and is situated along a route in the high country of the Pyrenees. In 1117, Conflent and Cerdagne were inherited by the Kings of Aragon.

The town occupied all the available space between the right bank of the River Têt and the foot of the steep slopes stretching down from the Canigou, forming a long plain between two parallel routes. The defensive perimeter was built from the early 13th century. The semi-circular watchtowers date from the 14th century, a testament to the battle between the Majorcan and Aragonese kings over control of Roussillon.

The town was handed over to French control in 1654 during the Franco-Spanish War. The population, hostile to the French, revolted leading to the Miquelet Movement and the Villefranche Conspiracy, in 1674, which revived the war and led Vauban to establish a fortification programme in the region from 1679. He reinforced the former wall along the mountain front. Elsewhere, it was replaced by a curtain wall with four bastions at the corners. This was supplemented by two flat bastions: one towards the Tech river protected the bridge and the other towards the mountain. Unable to build a glacis around the stronghold, Vauban reinforced the bastions. They were fortified and flanked by embrasures for heavy artillery fire. In order to shield sight of the covered way, it was covered with a slate roof. On the right bank, natural caves were converted into casemates.


The fortified town was temporarily reconquered in 1793 during the French Counter-Revolution.


Tourist Information Office

Place de l'Eglise 66500 Villefranche-de-Conflent

Tel: +33 (0)4 68 96 22 96

Fax: +33 (0)4 68 96 07 66



  • Detail: covered curtain wall. Source:

  • Post card of the bridge over the Têt protected by a bastion.

  • Aerial view of the quadrilateral fort flanked at the corners by bastions. Source:

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