Index > Quillan


According to local tradition, the town got its name from the three craggy hills, the Trois Quilles (the Three Skittles) which surround it. Situated on the edge of the Atax river, now the Aude, the town is at the crossroads of routes towards the Pays de Sault, the Fenouillèdes and Carcassonne. Quillan, mentioned from the 10th century, was ruled by the Archbishops of Narbonne who possessed the castle from the 12th century. During the following century, important work was started. A large new district was constructed on the left bank, most of which has survived to this day, and whose streets are now the old town. The current castle was built at the beginning of the 19th century, it towered above the archbishop's mill, which has not survived. The town was also equipped with ramparts and moats. These were not sufficient however to protect Quillan during the religious wars. The town and the castle were taken both by the Catholics and then the Protestants. Once peace had been restored, the town once again experienced prosperity.

Quillan owes its industrial development to the river Aude, due to the power of the water: flour mills, hydraulic saws and hammers on the banks of the river, presenting exceptional opportunities for transport of logs from the neighbouring forests. This was the key to the development of the town because, in the 17th century, the royal administration undertook a vast “Forest Reform”. "Special control of Water and Forests" was introduced in Quillan. Thousands of tree trunks assembled as rafts, left the Haute Vallée for Trèbes and the Canal du Midi. This work, carried out by specialists, the rafters, known locally as “carrassiers”, would continue up until the end of the 19th century with the arrival of the railway. The industrialised town specialised also in the processing of iron ore at the place called La Forge. In the second half of the 19th century, industry in Quillan experienced a golden age with the development of hat making. At the beginning of the 20th century, around 135,000 felt hats were produced every year in the town.

Quillan was, in 1891, one of the first towns in France to be lit with electricity and the patronage of the hat-makers enabled the rugby team to have their name on the prestigious Bouclier de Brennus (the Brennus shield, the trophy awarded to the winners of the French rugby union). Although the hats made in the town were reputed for their quality, hat-making declined irreparably in the years following the Second World War. It was then the turn of Formica, whose factory came to Quillan in 1952, to continue the industrial tradition until the beginning of the 21st century. Today, the town's main industry is tourism, thanks to its preserved natural environment and outdoor activities on offer.

Download the map and guide [FR only] (.pdf 1.1MB)

Quillan City Hall
Rue de la Mairie - 11500 Quillan
Tel : 00 33 (0)4 68 20 00 44 - Fax 00 33 (0)4 68 20 90 28
E-mail: mairie.quillan@wanadoo.fr
Web site: www.quillan.fr

Opening hours : Monday to Wednesday from 8am to midday and from 1.30-5.30pm
Thursday from 8am to midday and from 1.30 – 4.30pm
Friday from 8am to midday.

Quillan castle, built on a Visigoth castrum dating from the 8th century, was erected in the 12th and 13th centuries by the Archbishops of Narbonne as protection for tax collecting. It was the cause of conflicts between the King of France and the Archbishopric of Narbonne (see the page on Catharism). Following the peace treaty of 1229 which marked the end of the Albigensian crusades, Quillan was given the title of a Royal Town and a governor was appointed. Almost 2 centuries later, the King of France made the castle a strategic military base to resist the 15th-century Aragon invasion. The castle was a garrison, a sentry guarding the Spanish frontier. The current remains provide the evidence for this: a square castle with crenellations, turrets at each corner and with a square donjon. Quillan castle is a rare example of 14th and 15th century military architecture.

Markets in Quillan

For information about the markets in Quillan, click on the link below:

24e Carach Bike

Marc Colon remporte la 24e Carach Bike avec 3mn d'avance sur... (...) Read more All news
Comité Départemental du Tourisme de l'Aude
Google plus
Rejoignez-nous sur twitter
Rejoignez-nous sur facebook
Flux RSSRSS| Contact| Site Map| Legal information| Credits|© Copyright 2009 - CC Pyrénées Audoises