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Castelnaudary bassin canal.jpg
A general view of Castelnaudary
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Location of Castelnaudary
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Coordinates: 43°19′09″N1°57′16″E / 43.3192°N 1.9544°E / 43.3192; 1.9544 Coordinates: 43°19′09″N1°57′16″E / 43.3192°N 1.9544°E / 43.3192; 1.9544
Country France
Region Occitania
Department Aude
Arrondissement Carcassonne
Canton Le Bassin chaurien
Intercommunality Castelnaudary Lauraguais Audois
  Mayor (20202026) Patrick Maugard (PS)
47.72 km2 (18.42 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019) [1]
  Density260/km2 (660/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
11076 /11400
Elevation145–215 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.

Castelnaudary (French:  [kastɛlnodɑʁi] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Occitan : Castèlnòu d'Arri) is a commune in the Aude department in the Occitanie region of southern France. It is located 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 kilometers (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. Castelnaudary station has rail connections to Toulouse, Carcassonne and Narbonne.


Roman staging post

In Roman times the location of the town was a staging post on the Narbonne-Toulouse road, and called Sostomagus. [2]

Origin of the name

Castelnaudary comes from the Occitan Castèlnòu d'Arri — Latin translation Castellum Novum Arri — meaning "Arrius' new castle".

Major events


Its inhabitants are called Chauriens.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 7,871    
1800 7,610−0.48%
1806 7,924+0.68%
1821 9,493+1.21%
1831 9,886+0.41%
1836 10,186+0.60%
1841 9,993−0.38%
1846 9,635−0.73%
1851 9,992+0.73%
1856 9,652−0.69%
1861 9,584−0.14%
1866 9,075−1.09%
1872 9,328+0.46%
1876 9,042−0.78%
1881 10,059+2.15%
1886 10,105+0.09%
1891 10,059−0.09%
1896 9,720−0.68%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 9,397−0.67%
1906 9,362−0.07%
1911 9,542+0.38%
1921 7,921−1.84%
1926 7,891−0.08%
1931 8,054+0.41%
1936 8,246+0.47%
1946 8,073−0.21%
1954 8,765+1.03%
1962 9,343+0.80%
1968 9,936+1.03%
1975 10,118+0.26%
1982 10,750+0.87%
1990 10,970+0.25%
1999 10,851−0.12%
2007 11,308+0.52%
2012 11,748+0.77%
2017 11,598−0.26%
Source: EHESS [3] and INSEE (1968-2017) [4]



Castelnaudary was the birthplace of:


Military base

The 4th Foreign Regiment of the French Army has been stationed 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. [5]

The town is home to the La Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet de Castelnaudary ("The Brotherhood of Castelnaudary's cassoulet"), an organization which seeks to promote and preserve the dish and its associated traditions. An annual festival celebrating cassoulet "fête du Cassoulet" is held in the last full week of August; the town center is thusly crowded with various versions of the traditional dish on that date.

The cassoulet variant favored in this 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. [5]

Traditional peasant versions of the recipe can take two days or more to prepare. The traditional cooking vessel is an eponymous earthenware pot called a "cassole."

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. [6]

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  1. "Populations légales 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  2. "Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites" . Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  3. Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Castelnaudary, EHESS. (in French)
  4. Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  5. 1 2 "Cassoulet History from the Mairie of Castelnaudary". Mairie de Castelnaudary. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  6. Stein, Rick. "Cassoulet". BBC Food. Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2012.