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Rennes le Chateau Hoax- South of France

Updated on September 20, 2016

Amusing Tale About Ex-Pat Life in France

The Happy Hooker: Expat Intrigue - Living with the Enemy in Deepest France
The Happy Hooker: Expat Intrigue - Living with the Enemy in Deepest France

About ex-pat life in the South of France. A highly amusing take on the activities of both the local community and ex-pat infiltrators in a small French village.


Rennes Le Chateau & The Perfect Pentagon

Rennes le Château sits at the top of a hill above Couiza in the Aude department of France and looks south towards the Mediterranean, you can't actually see the sea but you do get some fantastic views through the valleys and foot hills to the Pyrenees. Nostradamus is a famous name that I am sure you will recognise and who was born in this region of the foothills of the Pyrenees.

The Chateau is famous on two counts, the first is that it is one of 5 churches or sacred sites that were built on hilltops to form a perfect pentagon with the centre of the pentagon near the locally known megalithic sites of Balancing Rock and the Devil's chair. In Plato's time I would have been put to death for revealing this little snippet of information but I guess back then they didn't have the Internet and took life a little more seriously when it came to Druid secrets.

The other sites that make up the pentagon are Bezu, Serre de Lauzet, the chapel of Blanchefort and the megalith at la Soulane. The pentagon was designed by an ancient Druidic university that existed in the region until such times as Caeser and other emperors of Rome eliminated the druids as best they could from the area.

The Rennes-Le-Chateau Hoax

The 2nd main reason for the Chateau being famous revolves around Berenger Sauniere who, because of a hoax, it was suggested had discovered some documents inside one of the pillars in his church at Rennes le Chateau in the late 1800's. The documents it is said helped him discover the whereabouts of some royal treasure . The hoax was pretty elaborate and involved planting fake documents in the national library of France. It was those documents that mentioned a secret order called the Priory of Sion that was supposed to have existed for thousands of years but had actually been made up as an entity in the 1950's.

The hoax became the basis for the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail which expanded on the premise of the existence of the fake documents the Priory of Sion and implied that Jesus and Mary Magdelane (to whom the church was dedicated) were somehow connected to French royalty.

This was then further perpetuated by Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, which, although not actually mentioning Rennes-Le-Chateau, did refer heavily to the Priory of Sion as the guardians to the secret of the Holy Grail along with the Knights Templar, not forgetting of course that this book is a work of fiction.

Following the release of the book and subsequent film of the Da Vinci Code, Rennes-le-Chateau had a resurgence in its popularity as a tourist destination.

If you visit, you can find plenty of evidence of the people who believed the conspiracy theories and actually tried to tunnel under the chuch of Mary Magdelane in search of Sauniere's treasure, even resorting at times to dynamiting the rock to try and get through to the chambers they believed existed beneath the church.

Wikipedia have written a very good account of the hoaxes which you can find here at Rennes-le-Château.

Magnificent views and Rennes le Chateau

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tour MagdalaTake in the views aided by a 'table de orientation'.Tour MagdalaTour MagdalaViews through the foot hills of the PyreneesViews through the foothills of the PyreneesA wander through the little streets, following in the footsteps of many predecessorsJesus on the crossInside the church, flash not allowed
Tour Magdala
Tour Magdala | Source
Take in the views aided by a 'table de orientation'.
Take in the views aided by a 'table de orientation'.
Tour Magdala
Tour Magdala
Tour Magdala
Tour Magdala
Views through the foot hills of the Pyrenees
Views through the foot hills of the Pyrenees
Views through the foothills of the Pyrenees
Views through the foothills of the Pyrenees
A wander through the little streets, following in the footsteps of many predecessors
A wander through the little streets, following in the footsteps of many predecessors
Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross
Inside the church, flash not allowed
Inside the church, flash not allowed

Panoramic Views from Rennes Le Chateau

Couiza and white water rafting

If you are a bit of an adventurer at heart and would like to take in a little bit of white water rafting or other water sport after you have been to Rennes le Chateau then you will be well placed because Couiza that sits at the base of the hill where the Chateau is located offers hire of rafts and various other canoes and modes of transport for the river.

Just up the road at Alet les Bains and Limoux are other companies that hire out rafts as well, but you need to know that the trips are normally organised through reservations and are pretty much resticted to operating in the months of July and August when there is less water about and the rivers are not so full and fast flowing, otherwise things can become a little dangerous.

There are also a dinosaur and hat museum, separate museums not dinosaurs wearing hats, at Esperaza for the less adventurous of you that want to make this a bit of a day trip. Esperaza is about 10 minutes from Couiza and about 20 minutes from Rennes le Chateau.

This is a map centred on the Chateau courtesy of Google Maps

Rennes le Chateau on YouTube

Sauniere's Treasure - Rennes le Chateau

Let us know what you think of the Chateau

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    • France Travel Inf profile image

      France Travel Inf 7 years ago

      I loved your hub! We have read so much about this region of France - it was wonderful to see your photos. My husband and I look forward to spending some time in this area soon!

    • profile image

      William_s 7 years ago

      There are believers and non believers...and they are both wrong. Funny thing is that if you start searching yourself.

      ,most of their theories crumbles easly and that on both sides.

      an example.. A sholar mentioned that it was impossible that Maria was at Jezus side, on the last supper of Da vinci. Because the person has eyebrows, wich where shaved on woman at the time of Da Vinci.

      Check yourself.....most of the woman he painted have eyebrows.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 8 years ago from The English Midlands

      No white water rafting for me!

      I enjoyed visiting Rennes le Chateau, though, but was a bit disappointed that the church was closed while we were there.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for this. I confess I have read "The Holy Grail" but no "The Da Vinci Code" - I think one dose of that sort of fiction was enough for me!

      Love and peace


    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      very nice hub I like to visit sometime

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Thanks for the comments, it is a lovely place to visit just for the views never mind the intrigue, some people have likened Rennes le Chateau to the Bermuda Triangle because of all the mystery and theories that have surrounded the place over the years.

      There is a little shop at the entrance to the museum where they have a glass plate over one of the tunnels that was dug to try to get to Sauniere's treasure. I tried to photograph it, but my battery died on me, so the moral of the story is always check your battery before you leave, or perhaps there was something spooky going on!!!!

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 8 years ago

      Quite an interesting story behind this Chateau. I've not been there but I have seen a few Chateau's in France. Would love to go back to see this one and many other things as well!

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      Another wonderful hub, and more fantastic photos!

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      I've read about Rennes-le-Chateau and the priory of Sion hoax before, but i hadn't really thought about the story's origins. Your photos are lovely, and I can see that it's a worth-while place to visit with or without the Holy Grail connections. I can hardly believe that people have actually attempted to tunnel under the church - that's a bit like the people who send wreaths when their favourite TV soap characters die!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Fascinating! I enjoyed very much reading your Hub. Excellent work.