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|Intercommunality||Castelnaudary Lauraguais Audois|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Patrick Maugard (PS)|
|Area1||47.72 km2 (18.42 sq mi)|
|• Density||240/km2 (630/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||11076 / 11400|
|Elevation||145–215 m (476–705 ft)
(avg. 165 m or 541 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Castelnaudary (Occitan: Castèlnòu d'Arri) is a commune in the Aude department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in south France. It is in the former province of the Lauragais and famous for cassoulet of which it claims to be the world capital, and of which it is a major producer.
Castelnaudary is a market town, and the capital of the territory of Lauragais. The town is located 50 kilometres (31 miles) southeast of Toulouse, about midway along the route from that city to the Mediterranean. This route has been used since at least Roman times, and today carries road, motorway (A61), rail and canal links. Castelnaudary is the main port of the Canal du Midi to which it owed a period of prosperity in the 17th century when agricultural and manufactured produce became easier to export. The Grand Bassin in the town is at 7 ha the largest open area of water in the canal, and is today its major pleasure port.
Roman staging post
In Roman times the location of the town was a staging post on the Narbonne-Toulouse road, and called Sostomagus.
Origin of the name
Castelnaudary comes from the Occitan Castèlnòu d'Arri, the Latin Castellum Novum Arri, or Arrius' new castle.
- 1103. First official mention of a settlement at Castelnaudary.
- 1211. During the Albigensian Crusade, Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester is besieged in Castelnaudary by the Count of Toulouse and the Count of Foix.
- 1235. Arrival of the Papal inquisition whose initial attempts to identify and persecute Cathars were unsuccessful due to the solidarity of the townsfolk.
- 31 October 1355. During the 100 Years War, the town is sacked by the Black Prince who travelling from Bordeaux, ravaged the weaker towns of Gascony and then the Lauragais as far as Narbonne. The town was pillaged and the inhabitants massacred. The town's walls were not rebuilt until 10 years later.
- 1477. The town becomes the capital of the comté of Lauragais under Louis XI of France.
- 1632. The capture of Henri II de Montmorency just outside the town leads to his execution at Toulouse on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu.
- 15 May 1681. Commissioning of the Canal du Midi.
- 1754. Construction of L'Ile de la Cybèle.
- 1814. Marshal Soult withdraws to the town after the Battle of Toulouse before signing a final surrender at Naurouze.
Its inhabitants are called Chauriens.
- L'Apothicairerie de l'Hôpital
- La Collégiale Saint-Michel
- Les Ecluses Saint-Roch
- Le Grand Bassin
- La Halle aux Grains
- L'Ile de la Cybèle.
- Le Moulin de Cugarel
- La Légion étrangère
- Le Présidial
- La Chapelle Notre-Dame de Pitié
Canal du Midi in Castelnaudary
Castelnaudary was the birthplace of:
- Pierre de Castelnau d. 1208
- Philippe de Rigaud Vaudreuil (1643–1725)
- Joseph Martin-Dauch (1741–1801), the only deputy from the Estates General of the Third Estate known to have abstained from taking the Tennis Court Oath, a major event of the French Revolution of 1789
- Jean François Aimé Dejean (1749-1824), army officer and minister of state in the service of the First French Republic and the First French Empire
- Antoine-François Andréossy (1761–1828)
- Antoine Marfan (1858–1942), pediatrician
- Georges Canguilhem (1904–1995), philosopher and member of the Académie française who specialized in the philosophy of science
Foreign Legion base
Castelnaudary styles itself Capitale Mondiale du Cassoulet ("World Capital of Cassoulet") and the apocryphal legend of the genesis of this dish (originally called estofat) relates that it was first served to the defenders of the town during the siege of 1355.
'La Fete du Cassoulet' is held in September and the town centre is crowded with various versions of the traditional dish. It's a bit weird that it's held in summer and not winter considering the dish is searing hot.
The town is home to the La Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet de Castelnaudary ("The Brotherhood of Castelnaudary's cassoulet"), an organisation which seeks to promote the dish and preserve its traditions. An annual festival celebrating cassoulet "fête du Cassoulet" is held in the last full week of August.
The cassoulet variant favoured in the town is based on the local haricot bean (which is the subject of a protected status application). It also includes goose or duck confit, pork, and Toulouse sausage.
Traditional peasant versions of the recipe can take two days or more to prepare. The traditional cooking vessel is an earthenware pot called a cassole for which the dish is named. Without the correct pot, the cassoulet may end up too runny if the pot is too narrow and too dry if the pot is too wide.
- "Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites". Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- "Cassoulet History from the Mairie of Castelnaudary". Mairie de Castelnaudary. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Stein, Rick. "Cassoulet". BBC Food. Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Catlos, Brian (2004). The Rough Guide to Languedoc and Roussillon. Rough Guides. pp. 107–110. ISBN 1-84353-244-1.
- André, Jacques (2003). Guide du Canal du Midi. Vert-Azur. pp. 107–113. ISBN 2-911793-01-3.
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