Quercorb Museum


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What was it like to be a carpenter, a blacksmith or a dressmaker? What was life like at the beginning of the 20th century? Did they have heating? What did Middle Age instruments look like? What sound did they make? To find out, you have to look and listen. This is what is offered by this unique museum, located in one of the oldest houses in the village.


Quercorb straddles the regions of the Aude and the Ariège, in the piedmont plain of the Pyrenees. "Quer" (rock) and "corb" (curve), denote the curved rock of a castle-city in 1002, as the origin of the name "Quercorb". In this small region, History came to Puivert Castle, but it is music that gives this area its identity. This musical identity has two origins: firstly, the performance of poems by the troubadour Péire d'Alvernhe, who wanted a gathering of the most prestigious troubadours in the 12th century, and secondly, the presence of a magnificent "musicians' room" in the castle keep. Moving towards the present day, the history of Quercorb has been shaped by a strong development in the craft industry. In the 18th century, each village was known for a particular craft: "Rivel de las esquèlhas e de las semals" ("Rivel for cowbells and harvest buckets"), "A Puègvert, fan flabutas e robinhòlas" ("Puivert for flutes and taps"), etc. Blacksmiths, bucket makers, comb makers and knifemakers worked in the villages until the 20th century. This know-how is on display at the Quercorb Museum, where you can also hear troubadour music.


In the kitchen, with one eye on the children's games, and the other on the meal simmering in the corner, women deftly sew heavy quilts. Meanwhile, in the forge, (another vital place for daily life), tools are being repaired. In the workshop, the woodturner works with box, ash, beech and hazel wood to create coat racks, quills, dibbles (a pointed tool for making holes in the ground for seeds or young plants), faucets, tool sleeves etc. Depending on the period, people would have also worked with jet stone, made wooden combs or famous cowbells etc. This museum brings to life the world of these jobs, tools and craftspeople.

The instrument room

Musicians playing bagpipes, flutes, tambourines, portable organs, fiddles, psalteries, gitterns, lutes and rebecs. There are eight lovely sculpted musicians in the castle keep at Puivert, and we can almost imagine them playing. Of course, we wanted to hear them in real life. Therefore, each instrument has been analysed and carefully reconstructed, after much work spanning archaeology, musicology, organology and iconography. You can see them, but that's not all! Listen carefully, the troubadours are finally singing their love songs...

The orchard

With pear trees, plum trees, apple trees and cherry trees galore, it's clear that Puivert loves its orchards. Every resident has their own trees to grow fruit and make jam, compote and eau-de-vie. In winter, Aristide, the travelling distiller passes through, even to this day, to carry out this "alembic" operation, that the orchard and a video will explain.

Things to explore

As you walk


This natural, undoubtedly swampy, lake probably once extended across the entire Puivert plain, before allegedly disappearing on the 16th June 1289, when the lake burst its banks, and its water surged at the same time as heavy rainfall flooded the country. As a result, Mirepoix, 30km away, was flooded. Another theory suggests that this lake was slowly and deliberately drained to irrigate arable land, thus giving rise to new hamlets, which are spread around this former lake, and all bear a name with the prefix 'camp' (hamlet).

An ancient lake