Panier of Plenty

Two towers


Medieval tower, Carol

Medieval tower, Carol

Every time I have visited Latour de Carol (Cerdagne, Pyrénées
Orientales), I’ve wanted to see the tower after which the village
takes its name. Except there are two, rising from the ruins of a
medieval château in Carol, an adjacent hameau that straddles the
river Carol, as its icy torrents course through the valley that
leads to the co-principality of Andorra.

10th century château

Château riuns

The river Carol

The river Carol

Rocky bastion

Rocky bastion

Ardoise rooves

Ardoise rooves

New snow dusts the peaks

New snow dusts the peaks

Ardoise, traditionally hand-cut

Ardoise, traditionally hand-cut

Close to the frontière with Spain, street names are in Catalan,
painted on ardoise, and satellite dishes decorate the traditional
rooves of the same slate, which warms with the sun, keeping the
stone dwellings insulated and repelling snow.

The château rises from on a huge rock base – thought to be the
origin of the name Carol (Querol, Catalan), with earliest records
of the valley of ‘Cheirol’ dating back to the 10th century. Yet I
discovered that there was once another tower; a watchtower that
stood above Latour de Carol, on the site of the église (church)
that now sits above the village, marking its entrance and protecting
the valley.

Where 'la tour' once stood

Where ‘la tour’ once stood

Blason Latour de Carol

Blason, Latour de Carol

Le blason de Latour de Carol est un damier en quatre parties,
identiques deux à deux. Le blason catalan rappelle l’attachement
de la Cerdagne à la Catalogne tandis que les deux tours symbolisent
la fameuse “Tour du Carol”. Le mot Carol (catalan Querol) est un
dérivé de la racine pré-indoeuropéenne kar (= pierre, rocher).
Il désigne sans doute ici le grand rocher sur lequel s’élevait le
château médiéval de Carol (commune de Porta), dont il ne reste
aujourd’hui que deux tours (première mention : Kairolo au Xe siècle,
selon Lluis Basseda). Mais très vite il a désigné l’ensemble de la
vallée du Carol, rivière dont le nom primitif était l’Aravó :
l’expression Valle Cheirol apparaît dans les textes dès l’an 1011.
Quant au village de Latour proprement dit, son nom est mentionné
en 1260 (villa de Turre). Contrairement à ce qu’on dit parfois,
il ne correspond pas aux actuelles tours de Carol (restes d’un
château), mais plutôt à une tour protégeant la vallée, aujourd’hui
disparue, qui pourrait avoir été construite sur le rocher où se
trouve l’église actuelle.

This entry was published on December 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm. It’s filed under Andorra, Architecture, Catalan, Country Life, Country Living, Culture and Arts, Environment, Europe, Expat, France, French Culture, History, Holiday, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Leisure, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Photography, Pyrénées, Rural Life, Seasons, South of France, Spain, Thoughts, Tourism, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Two towers

  1. Hey !! c’est mon village 😉

  2. Superbes tes photos, bravo !!

  3. Thank you for the beautifully written thoughts!!

    Any chance you know where I could learn more about the history of this castle? Who lived there, what happened- type of history?

    Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance for your time 🙂


    • Dear Alexandra,

      Thank you for your message, and apologies for the long delay in reply as our satllite dish has been awaiting repair. I used French and Catalan sites via Google to get this much information, the records I found online are minimal. Latour de Carol had one tower of which a portion of the base only exists as part of the eglise, the medieval château is in the commune of Porta, Cerdagne… written records I imagine will exist in some form in Perpignan, at the Casa Pairal/Castillet…Have a look at as a starting point… bonne chance! Vivienne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: