Rennes le Château

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Rennes le Château (France)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Rennes le Château is a very small town in southern France whose former parish priest Berenger Saunière (1852–1917) has become the subject of a number of rumors in the twentieth century. Reputedly, in 1897 he discovered a hidden treasure that made him a wealthy man. Later tales would suggest that his treasure was not gold or some other material valuables, but a set of secret documents that led Saunière to various people in the Esoteric communitty who became the source of his wealth.

The story of Saunière is in fact much more mundane. It appears that he began trafficking in masses; that is, he advertised himself as a poor priest who would say masses for a fee. At the height of his career, he was receiving income from across Europe for saying some 5,000 to 6,000masses. Many of these were never said, and eventually he was the subject of action against him by the local bishop. Though never wealthy, he did acquire property and subsequently erected some buildings in Rennes le Château.

The story of a treasure was initially floated by Saunière as his defense in the face of accusations against him. The story was later embellished and overheard by Pierre Plantard (1920–2000), a minor figure in France’s Esoteric community, who claimed that he was the last surviving descendant of the Merovingians, the family that had ruled France for several centuries until it was replaced by the Carolingians in 751 CE. Plantard was also the founder of a small Esoteric society, the Priory of Sion, through which he asserted his claim to be a Merovingian descendant and thus the rightful claimant to the French throne.

In constructing this modern myth, Plantard claimed that the treasure found by Saunière in 1897 was in fact a set of documents that revealed the truth concerning the Priory of Sion and the Merovingians. Saunière supposedly used the information in the documents to confront the Bourbon royal family of France, the pretenders to the French throne. His money was thus the result of this blackmail.

The story of Rennes le Château was included in the 1982 Esoteric bestselling volume Holy Blood/Holy Grail, which expanded upon Plantard’s story of the Merovingians by further asserting that Mary Magdalene had been pregnant with Jesus’ child at the time of Jesus’ execution and that she subsequently traveled to France, where a daughter was born. The descendents of her child later married into the Merovingian family. Thus the Merovingians are not only the rightful rulers of France but also the physical descendants of Jesus.

The publicizing of Rennes le Château in Holy Blood/Holy Grail made the town and the church the subject of interest of a number of amateur researchers, all in hopes of verifying the various claims about it. During the last two decades of the twentieth century, speculation on Rennes le Château became a veritable cottage industry with more than two-dozen books being produced in French and English. These books expanded upon the basic story, though adding little substance. Interest peaked again after novelist Dan Brown included an account of Rennes le Château in his 2003 international best-selling thriller,The Da Vinci Code.

Sources:

Baigent, Michael, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.Holy Blood/Holy Grail. London: Jonathan Cape, 1982.
Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code. New York: Doubleday& Company, 2003.
Fanthrope, Lionel, and Patricia Fanthrope. Secrets of Rennes le Château. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1992.
Introvigne, Massimo. “Beyond The Da Vinci Code: History and Myth of the Priory of Sion.” Posted at http://www.cesnur.org/2005/pa_introvigne.htm. Accessed April 1, 2007.
References in periodicals archive ?
Full day excursion to Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau ??
Price includes Return direct flights from Newcastle 7 nights HB hotel accommodation (3 on the Spanish coast & 4 in Amelie-les-Bains in France) Full day excursion to Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau Free time in Figueres and Barcelona Services of a tour representative Holidays organised by Preferred Travel Services ABTA W3692 ATOL protected 5537.
Price includes Return direct flights from Leeds Bradford & Manchester 7 nights HB hotel accommodation (3 on the Spanish coast & 4 in Amelie-les-Bains in France) Full day excursion to Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau Free time in Figueres and Barcelona Services of a local representative
The final leg of this journey took us through the fortified medieval town of Carcassone, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once a Cathar stronghold, and then to Rennes-le-Chateau, the fabled village of Holy Grail lore, where Magdalene also allegedly preached, and nearby Rennes-les-Bains, home to rejuvenating hot springs and a majestic stone throne known as the seat of Isis that brought more mystical activations as we each took our turn on it.
Hotel De la Reine Amelie in Amelie-les-Bains - Full day excursion to Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau - Visit to Barcelona and the Dali museum at Figueras - Services of a tour representative A walking holiday featuring this area and hotels is also available - please ask for a brochure for more details.
Belief in the existence of a treasure buried under the floor slabs of the church in Rennes-le-Chateau. The authors themselves draw their sources from a historical novel published in France in 1967 by the journalist Gerard de Sede, called L'Or de Rennes.
The second book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, itself sold in its millions in the 1980s following a sensational television programme made on the secret of Rennes-le-Chateau and the mysterious story of its late 19th-century priest Berenger Sauniere.
And both were inspired by events more than a century ago in the small, remote hilltop village of Rennes-Le-Chateau, 700 miles away from the London battle of the bestseller.
My quest began in the company of my sister, Mary, my two daughters and my niece at the centuries-old chapel of Mary Magdalene in the little French hilltop village of Rennes-le-Chateau. It was Sunday, July 20, 2003, just two days prior to her feast day.
Price includes: Return direct flights from Liverpool & Manchester 7 nights HB hotel accommodation (3 on the Spanish coast & 4 in Amelie-les-Bains in France) Full day excursion to Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau Free time in Figueres and Barcelona Services of a tour representative
Price includes * Return direct flights from Birmingham * 7 nights HB hotel accommodation (4 in France & 3 in Spain) * Full day excursion to Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau * Free time in Figueras and Barcelona * Services of a tour representative NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT IN OCTOBER!
- Return direct flights from Liverpool & Manchester - 7 nights HB accommodation (4 in France & 3 in Spain) - Excursion to Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau - Free time in Figueras and Barcelona - Services of a tour representative - The chance to see Perpignan, the artists resort of Collioure and Pyrenean Vallespir Valley For further information and a FREE brochure Call: 0151 227 5987 Visit: www.readertravelholidays.com BROUGHT TO YOU BY: TRINITY MIRROR NORTH WEST AND NORTH WALES IN CONJUNCTION WITH: PREFERRED TRAVEL SERVICES ABTA W3692 ATOL 5537