Castelnaudary (French: [kastɛlnodɑʁi] ; 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.

A general view of Castelnaudary
A general view of Castelnaudary
Coat of arms of Castelnaudary
Location of Castelnaudary
Castelnaudary is located in France
Castelnaudary is located in Occitanie
Coordinates: 43°19′09″N 1°57′16″E / 43.3192°N 1.9544°E / 43.3192; 1.9544
CantonLe Bassin chaurien
IntercommunalityCastelnaudary Lauraguais Audois
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Patrick Maugard[1] (PS)
47.72 km2 (18.42 sq mi)
 • Density260/km2 (680/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+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 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.[3]

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[4] and INSEE (1968-2017)[5]


  • 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:



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.[6]

The town is home to 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 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.[6]

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 was published by BBC Food.[7]


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French)., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 13 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021" (in French). The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ "Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  4. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Castelnaudary, EHESS (in French).
  5. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  6. ^ a b "Cassoulet History from the Mairie of Castelnaudary". Mairie de Castelnaudary. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  7. ^ Stein, Rick. "Cassoulet". BBC Food. Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2012.