Lastours is located 12 km (7.5 mi) outside Carcassonne, in the Aude department. It is more famous for its 4 small castles each built on a large 300m high rocky ridge. The castles were built to control the access to Montagne Noire and the Cabardes region. these are some of the few original Cathar castles left. SEPS is a company dealing in the extraction of minerals from graphite for use in bearings/gun barrels and much more, the company went into liquidation in 1997 and has been empty since.