Souterrain médiéval du Castela

Souterrain refuge médiéval du Castela

Useful Information

Location: Saint-Sulpice la Pointe. Tours start at the tourist office, Rue du 3 Mars 1930.
Open: JAN to MAY Tue-Sun 14:30, 15:45, 16:30.
JUN to 14-SEP daily 14:30-18:30 (last tour).
15-SEP to DEC Tue-Sun 15, 16:30.
Fee: Adults EUR 5, Children (6-15) EUR 4, Children (0-5) free, Students EUR 4, Unemployed EUR 4, Disabled EUR 4.
Classification: SubterraneaCellar SubterraneaCasemate
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=14 °C.
Guided tours: D=45 min. Min=4, Max=15.
Accessibility: no
Address: Souterrain médiéval du Castela, L'Office de Tourisme, Rue du 3 Mars 1930, 81370 Saint-Sulpice la Pointe, Tel: +33-563-418950. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


13th century castle built by Sicard d'Alaman.
1418 Jeanne de Boulogne, the Duchess of Berry, manufactures counterfeit currency.
1562 castle was burned down and fell into ruin.
1990 castle renovated.


The souterrain refuge médiéval du Castela (medieval underground refuge Castela) is a series of underground vaults located in the middle of the town Saint-Sulpice right below the tourist office. To the north of the tourist office lies the ruined castle Castela on the southern shore of the river Agout, built to protect the nearby bridge across the river. The castle itself is destroyed, what remains is the castle hill with the walls of the 13th century chapel, the pigeon house, and the cellars.

Below the castle lies an impressive 142 m long vault, cut into the marl, with niches and side passages. The four big rooms were intended to house refugees for some time. It is equipped with storage silos for corn, water supply points, and niches for lamps. The underground structure was built by the citicens of Saint-Sulpice before the castle was built in the 13th century by Sicard d'Alaman, Lord of the Bastide. The lords at the castle used it simply as a cellar. Jeanne de Boulogne, the Duchess of Berry, used the tunnels in 1418 to manufacture counterfeit currency.

Marl is an ideal material to build such structures. It is much softer than limestone, so it is easier to dig, and it is still standing rather well. The trick is to make arched ceilings. Another important feature of the marl is its impermeability for water. This is important, so the water of the nearby river Agout will not flow into the underground structures, neither rainwater from above.

The Tarn has about 350 such underground structures, but this is one of the biggest and the only one which is open to the public.