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Castelnaudary bassin canal.jpg
Coat of arms of Castelnaudary
Coat of arms
Castelnaudary is located in France
Coordinates: 43°19′09″N 1°57′16″E / 43.3192°N 1.9544°E / 43.3192; 1.9544Coordinates: 43°19′09″N 1°57′16″E / 43.3192°N 1.9544°E / 43.3192; 1.9544
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Aude
Arrondissement Carcassonne
Intercommunality Castelnaudary Lauraguais Audois
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Patrick Maugard (PS)
Area1 47.72 km2 (18.42 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 11,544
 • 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[edit]

In Roman times the location of the town was a staging post on the Narbonne-Toulouse road, and called Sostomagus.[1]

Origin of the name[edit]

Castelnaudary comes from the Occitan Castèlnòu d'Arri, the Latin Castellum Novum Arri, or Arrius' new castle.

Major events[edit]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 7,871 —    
1800 7,610 −3.3%
1806 7,924 +4.1%
1821 9,493 +19.8%
1831 9,886 +4.1%
1836 10,186 +3.0%
1841 9,993 −1.9%
1846 9,635 −3.6%
1851 9,992 +3.7%
1856 9,652 −3.4%
1861 9,584 −0.7%
1866 9,075 −5.3%
1872 9,328 +2.8%
1876 9,042 −3.1%
1881 10,059 +11.2%
1886 10,105 +0.5%
1891 10,059 −0.5%
1896 9,720 −3.4%
1901 9,397 −3.3%
1906 9,362 −0.4%
1911 9,542 +1.9%
1921 7,921 −17.0%
1926 7,891 −0.4%
1931 8,054 +2.1%
1936 8,246 +2.4%
1946 8,073 −2.1%
1954 8,765 +8.6%
1962 9,343 +6.6%
1968 9,936 +6.3%
1975 10,118 +1.8%
1982 10,750 +6.2%
1990 10,970 +2.0%
1999 10,851 −1.1%
2008 11,544 +6.4%

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


Castelnaudary was the birthplace of:


Foreign Legion base[edit]

The 4th Foreign Regiment of the French Foreign Legion has been based in Castelnaudary since 1976, and the base is open to the public on 30 April (Camerone Day) and at Christmas.


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.[2]

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 and the town centre is crowded with various versions of the traditional dish.

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.[2]

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.

Rick Stein featured the Castelnaudary cassoulet in an episode of Rick Stein's French Odyssey and his recipe can be found on the BBC Food website.[3]


  1. ^ "Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites". Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Cassoulet History from the Mairie of Castelnaudary". Mairie de Castelnaudary. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ Stein, Rick. "Cassoulet". BBC Food. Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 

External links[edit]